Sibley dropped after passing 35 just once in his last 15 innings as Malan prepares for first Test in three years
While Malan has only played one first-class match this season – he scored 199 in his only innings – he has shown an ability to thrive on the international stage over the last couple of years, notably rising to become the top-ranked T20 batter in the world. He last played Test cricket in August 2018.
With Moeen Ali having returned to the side at Lord’s, there is no place for either Jack Leach or Dominic Bess in the squad. Leach, however, remains on standby for Moeen.
“The Test series is beautifully poised and we are relishing the prospect of aiming to bounce back at Emerald Headingley next week,” Chris Silverwood, England men’s head coach, said. “Dawid Malan deserves his opportunity in the Test arena. He has a lot of experience across all formats and, if called upon, I am confident that he can come and do well on his home ground. In the limited time he has played first-class cricket this season, he has shown what he is capable of, scoring a highly accomplished 199 for Yorkshire against Sussex at Headingley in June.
“Zak Crawley will return to Kent to galvanise the excellent work he did last week in the nets at Lord’s with assistant coach Graham Thorpe. Zak is still a massive part of our plans moving forward, but we feel he would benefit from time outside the pressure of international competition to get some time working on his skills. He has a bright future and I do not doubt that his time will come again in the Test arena.
“Dom Sibley needs some time away to regain his confidence after a challenging period. He will return to Warwickshire to spend time in the middle without the scrutiny and find some rhythm and confidence. Dom offers a lot of value to the Test environment and some time away should help him. However, he remains part of our plans.
“Jack Leach will return to Somerset to get some game time. I have been impressed with his patience and it’s not easy living under the Covid protocols, especially when you’re not playing. However, he has regained his confidence and spark, and it has been a considerable asset having him around. He will be on standby should we need his services, but we want what is best for him and playing cricket and getting overs into him is the way to go.
“We are hopeful that Mark Wood will be fit after injuring his right shoulder in the first Test. Our medical team will be working with him each day. We will monitor where he is at when we get to Leeds.
“We also have the services of Saqib Mahmood, who has been brilliant across all formats this summer. He is confident, highly skilled and will not be overawed if he is to make his Test debut. His temperament and attitude are suited to the international arena.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo