Worcestershire’s seamer Josh Tongue gets his first England cap in the Test match versus Ireland at Lords, the England Cricket Board (ECB) revealed. The late draft of Tongue comes on the back of an unexpected injury to Olly Stone.
Tongue’s appearance in England’s starting eleven is a testament to his impressive performances in the County Championship this season.
Josh Tongue’s Unexpected Rise to a National Team Debut
Josh Tongue was once at the brink of retiring from competitive cricket earlier in his career. The seamer had to deal with several nasty injuries for much of his early competitive career before experiencing a massive turnaround in fortune.
Tongue’s ability to deliver in crunch fixtures has caught the eye of the England team’s selectors. There are also several indications that he could be one of England’s future regulars with many experienced players close to retirement.
Josh Tongue was chosen ahead of veteran bowler Chris Woakes, who features in the squad for the first time since early 2022. He (Tongue) joins Stuart Broad and other established players in the Test lineup.
Tongue already has 162 wickets after 47 matches as a first class cricketer. He also has 11 wickets in the County Championship this season.
What Does the ECB Say about Josh Tongue?
The ECB has regular scouting teams to assess the performance of England nationals for potential selection. An ECB official revealed on Tuesday that Josh Tongue has been on their radar for long before his first team call-up in late May:
“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”
ECB officials believe Tongue has the ability to perform under pressure and deliver match-winning performances in the national team. According to the ECB, Tongue also brings much-needed squad depth to the team lineup:
“It is important to have players ready to respond a with a big summer of Test cricket coming up, we will need that depth to our squad”
Ollie Robinson and James Anderson are still rested to feature in England’s Ashes Test lineup. Josh Tongue’s appearance on one of cricket’s biggest stages gives him an opportunity to showcase his skills. He can consolidate his place and sideline experienced bowling attackers like Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes in future lineups with superb performances for England.
How Does Josh Tongue Feel about His Debut?
Tongue’s appearance in the four-day Test series against Ireland is one of the most important days in his career. He feels his call-up is a dream made reality. Josh also believes his unexpected addition to England’s starting lineup is a dumbfounding moment:
“It’s an amazing feeling. 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,”
Tongue’s desire to play for England has always been strong since he developed as a young cricketer. He also believes his positive mentality towards each cricket game is a major driver towards his debut selection:
“Since I was a young kid I always dreamt about playing for England. Now knowing I stuck in there, shows that mentally I was in a good place and it’s come good.”
Tongue has never featured at Lord’s, even if he has visited the ground on several occasions. He believes his Test debut wouldn’t have been possible without stellar performances at Worcester. Tongue has this to say about his first call-up to feature in one of England’s most popular cricket grounds:
“I’ve never played at Lord’s before for Worcester, so it’s my first time being here and experiencing the ground. I’ve come to watch test matches with my family here, but this is my first time playing here.“
The emergence of Tongue in England’s cricket squad could be a subtle sign of things to come. Two prominent bowlers are already over 35 years old, making Josh a top candidate for England’s future Test cricket lineups.
England Team Lineup vs. Ireland
Jonny Bairstow also makes a first Test appearance in over 9 months against Ireland, after suffering from a bad golf injury last year. He was out of the T20 World Cup squad due to the injury, but returns against a determined Ireland side keen for an English scalp in Test cricket.
Here’s the complete team lineup against Ireland:
B. Duckett, Z. Crawley, O. Pope, J. Root, H. Brook, B. Stokes (captain), J. Bairstow, S. Broad, M. Potts, J. Tongue, J. Leach.