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Zak Crawley keeps his place in the England team but fellow Kent batsman Joe Denly is dropped for the second Test against West Indies

Joe Denly has been replaced in the England squad by returning captain Joe Root.

Fellow Kent batsman Zak Crawley keeps his place for the second Test against West Indies, however, which starts on Thursday at Old Trafford.

Joe Denly is out of the England team for the second Test Picture: Ady Kerry
Joe Denly is out of the England team for the second Test Picture: Ady Kerry

Denly's omission doesn't mean his England career is over, Root insists.

"Over a period of time Joe has done a brilliant job for us," Root said, in his pre-match press conference.

"He has laid the platform for guys behind to go on and make big scores.

"I think he'll be just as frustrated as anyone that he's not managed to quite convert those opportunities but certainly the door's not closed.

"He's been a big part of our squad for some time now. If he gets an opportunity to come back again then I'm sure he'll be desperate to take it."

Both Crawley and Denly played in the first Test at the Ageas Bowl last week but it was the younger of the two making the biggest impression, producing a second innings knock of 76 and sharing a stand of 98 with stand-in captain Ben Stokes.

Denly, 34, has averaged just 29.53 from his 15 Tests and came under fire following the first Test defeat, having scored 18 and 29. Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he was “just not good enough.”

His best score of 94 came in the fifth Test against Australia last summer but his role in the team has generally been to help wear down the new ball.

Root returns to the side following the birth of his second child. His absence last week meant there was room for both Denly and Crawley in the first Test, which England lost by four wickets. It meant the pair were competing for just one place.

Kent opener Crawley, 22, gets the nod after his Test best of 76 and will bat no.3 at Old Trafford.

It's a decision another former England captain, Nasser Hussain, agrees with. He said: "If you see off that new ball and you are 20, 30, 40 not-out, you have to go on and get big scores, but he didn't go on and get one hundred at all from all of those starts and he's paid the biggest price by being left out.

"With Root coming back in and Crawley getting runs they had to choose between a 34-year-old and a 22-year-old and I think they have made the right choice, the youngster looks a real prospect."

Also named in the England squad is Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson, who gets his first call-up. The 26-year-old was born in Margate and started his career with the Kent second XI while also playing for Sandwich Cricket Club.

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