England call up seamer Josh Tongue for Lord's Test against Ireland

Uncapped seamer Josh Tongue called into England squad for pre-Ashes Test with Ireland at Lord’s amid injury concerns over key bowlers… and he’s already got Steve Smith’s wicket this season!

  • Worcestershire’s Tongue, 25, has 11 County Championship wickets this season
  • That included Australian star Smith when they played Sussex earlier this month
  • It comes with Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson unlikely to be risked at Lord’s  

Uncapped Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue has been added to the England’s Test squad for next week’s match against Ireland at Lord’s.

Tongue, who underwent career-saving shoulder surgery before returning to action last summer, was part of the England Lions tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year.

The 25-year-old’s 11 County Championship wickets this season include Australia star Steve Smith.

‘We have been monitoring Josh for quite some time and he deserves this call-up to the Test squad. It will be a great experience for him to understand and get used to the environment under Ben (Stokes) and Brendon (McCullum),’ said Luke Wright, England’s national selector.

‘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. We wish Josh and the rest of the squad well for the first international of the campaign.’

Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue has been called into the England squad for the Ireland Test at Lord’s early next month

Tongue, 25, underwent career-saving shoulder surgery before returning to action last year

The decision to expand the squad to 16 comes amid injury niggles for Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson, with England unlikely to take any risks ahead of the Ashes starting in just over three weeks.

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. 

Australian star Steve Smith walks off after Tongue dismissed him in the Sussex vs Worcestershire County Championship match earlier this month

Tongue has taken 11 County Championship wickets for Worcestershire so far this season

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.’

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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