Cricket will take the first step towards changing the bad weather regulations that attracted such opprobrium during the ill-fated second Test when early starts are introduced for the conclusion of the series against Pakistan.
The ECB are set to announce that play will begin in a third Test that starts at the Ageas Bowl on Friday at 10.30am on any day that follows one where play has been lost.
It is a move England have been reluctant to make over concerns about spectators having travel plans disrupted by a late switch from traditional 11am starts. But with this summer’s six Tests being played behind closed doors and broadcasters happy to be flexible, there is nothing to stop the governing body changing rules mid-series.
There was encouragement on Tuesday that one of England’s most important white-ball players still has a Test future when national selector Ed Smith named a 14-man squad for the three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan that follows the third Test.
Adil Rashid, who has not played Test cricket for 18 months, will be encouraged to make himself available again for red-ball cricket with England wanting the leg-spinner in their ranks for the proposed tours to Sri Lanka and India this winter.
‘Adil has made really good strides with his shoulder injury and his form is really good in white-ball cricket,’ said Smith on Tuesday when he named a short-form squad that does not include those multi-format players currently in the Test bubble.
‘We will work closely with Adil and Yorkshire and see if he’s ready to play four and five-day cricket,’ added Smith.
‘He’s still coming back from a reasonably serious injury but in the long-term he still has aspirations to play for England in all forms.’
The biggest casualty in a Twenty20 squad that will be coached by Graham Thorpe, with Chris Silverwood resting, is James Vince, who failed to make an impression in the 50-over series against Ireland and is unlikely to play for England again.
‘For someone of his talent and class, James hasn’t grabbed his opportunities in the way he’d have liked,’ added Smith. ‘If the chance comes around again I’m sure he’ll be determined to grasp it.’
T20 squad: Morgan (capt), Ali, Bairstow, Banton, Billings, T Curran, Denly, Gregory, Jordan, Mahmood, Malan, Rashid, Roy, Willey.