London — Josh Tongue is set to make his England debut after being named Tuesday in the XI to play Ireland in this week’s one-off Test at Lord’s.
The 25-year-old Worcestershire quick was initially only called up as cover due to injury concerns over pacemen James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, both of whom are now being rested prior to the start of the Ashes next month.
But Tongue has been chosen ahead of the more experienced duo of Chris Woakes and Mark Wood after England took the unusual decision to name their side two days before Thursday’s start at Lord’s.
He will be a member of a pace attack led by veteran seamer Stuart Broad and featuring Matthew Potts in a team that will again be captained by star all-rounder Ben Stokes.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Tongue told reporters on Tuesday. “Speechless really, even from when I got the first call-up to be in the squad.
“Now being in the actual team, it’s just a dream come true really.”
Thursday’s match will be the first time he has played a game at the ‘Home of Cricket’, with Tongue adding: “I’ve never played at Lord’s before for Worcester so it’s my first time being here and experiencing the ground.
“It’s an amazing feeling, and to make my Test debut as well. I’ve come to watch Test matches with my family, my dad, but this is my first time playing here.”
Tongue, who has played for England’s second-tier Lions team, averages just over 26 with the ball in first-class cricket.
But his career has been interrupted by a stress fracture of the back in 2016 and a left foot injury five years ago.
“He’s a big strong lad, that’s for sure,” said England coach Brendon McCullum of Tongue on Monday. “He looks like he bowls quite fast and has some real skills. He is obviously a bit of a rough diamond, he’s had some injuries throughout his career.”
But the former New Zealand captain added: “We think he has got something really exciting ... He looks like he has an immense amount of talent.”
Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Stuart Broad, Matthew Potts, Josh Tongue, Jack Leach