England answer selection questions ahead of first Test

England Cricket Crest

England began their post-World Cup rebuilding operation on the idyllic Caribbean island of St Kitts today with the start of a low-key two-day game against local opposition.

In a match without first-class status, England chose to select 12 players and have provided some clues as to their likely line-up for the first Test with some of their choices.

Jonathan Trott seems almost certain to return to international cricket following his long lay-off for a stress-related illness after being preferred to Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth to partner captain Alastair Cook. Stuart Broad, meanwhile, appears to have seen off any competition that he may have faced after his poor form in Australasia by being included ahead of Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood.

Broad may just about conceivably still miss out if he fails to perform here and if England elect to play two spinners; a tactic that would be unusual. Otherwise, the balance of the side appears set firm at five batsmen and five bowlers after Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid were included at the expense of the extra batting option in Lyth or Jonny Bairstow. Moeen Ali is expected to return to the squad following injury ahead of the second Test, meaning that the eagerly-anticipated battle between spinners James Tredwell and Rashid could be only for the first Test next Monday in Antigua.

Rashid represents the more attacking option, while Tredwell - aged 33 and an off-spinner to leg-spinner Rashid's 27 years - is by far the more known quantity, having been a mostly non-playing member of England's disappointing World Cup campaign and boasting 63 international caps across all formats.

Counting against Tredwell is the fact that he was loaned out by his county Kent last season after being deemed inferior, if not in ability then certainly in potential, to their young off-spinner Adam Riley. Rashid, meanwhile, had a mesmerising 2014 season after a couple of fallow years practising cricket's most difficult art. He played a starring role with both bat and ball in Yorkshire's County Championship win and has the more recent red-ball cricket under his belt, having taken six wickets for Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi last month against an MCC side that included Alastair Cook.

Rashid is seen by many as representing the more progressive choice, but whether an unconfident England management are prepared to take the risk remains to be seen. Spinners to have debuted in recent times - most notably Simon Kerrigan and Scott Borthwick - have hardly enjoyed ideal debuts. Allied to this is that doubts still linger over Rashid's consistency. Many will argue, however, that this is the price you must be prepared to pay for including one of those rarest of species - a leg-spinner - in your Test side.