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England have added uncapped Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue to their squad for next week’s Lord’s Test against Ireland.
The 25-year-old has been drafted in as cover due to injury concerns over James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, both of whom remain with the group but are highly unlikely to be risked ahead of the start of the Ashes next month.
Tongue has impressed for the Pears over the past couple of seasons and was discussed by selectors for the initial squad, only for a minor side strain to count against him.
That has now cleared sufficiently for him to get the call as back-up to the anticipated pace attack of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Matthew Potts.
With Jofra Archer ruled out for the summer and Olly Stone also sidelined again, Tongue’s elevation thrusts him into unexpected contention for the hotly anticipated series against Australia.
It will not have escaped England’s attention that Tongue was the man who brought an end to Steve Smith’s first innings on overseas duty with Sussex, winning a marginal lbw call that left Smith shaking his head in resignation.
Speaking after a memorable day that also saw him dismiss India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, Tongue said: “I did watch it back. It was one of those ones – it looked high but it couldn’t have been clipping. There’s nothing to say if it was hitting or missing. I’m calling it a bail-trimmer.
“It looks nice on the scorecard. He’s an amazing player to get out.”
Tongue made his England Lions debut on tour in Sri Lanka earlier this year, taking eight wickets including a first-innings haul of five for 76 in Galle. Little more than a year ago his career was in question due to a shoulder nerve injury called thoracic outlet syndrome that kept him out for 15 months and left him at one stage pondering early retirement.
Worcestershire head coach Alan Richardson said: “It fills us with great delight to witness Josh’s moment, which is truly well deserved after the tremendous amount of effort he has invested in his recovery.
“For all of us at Worcestershire, it is an incredibly proud moment to witness the growth of a player who has been part of our talent pathway since the tender age of six, now graduate through to the highest level of the sport.”
Luke Wright, the new England national selector, welcomed Tongue into the fold.
“We have been monitoring Josh for quite some time and he deserves this call-up,” he said.
“It will be a great experience for him to understand and get used to the environment under Ben (Stokes) and Brendon (McCullum). It is important to have players ready to respond and with a big summer of Test cricket coming up, we will need that depth to our squad.”
Tongue has 162 first-class wickets in 47 appearances at an average of 26.04, with 11 in four Division Two outings this season.
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