Joe Denly (AFP Photo)
Joe Denly (foreground) will make his Test debut on Thursday (AFP Photo)

England will be hand debut to allrounder Joe Denly in the second Test against West Indies that starts from Thursday. He replaces Keaton Jennings in the 12-man squad and is set to open the innings with Joe Burns as the tourists aim to bounce back after a crushing defeat in Barbados.

Former captain Alastair Cook that Antigua is a great opportunity for Denly and has backed his selection on the back of a superb domestic season that saw him racking up 1729 runs across formats apart from claiming 57 wickets as well.

“It’s great opportunity for Joe,” Cook told Test Match Special. “He’s had an interesting couple of years in county cricket, taking on more responsibility at Kent and deserves his call-up. So he will be excited and I will be excited to see how he plays. ”

The Test could also serve as a chance for Denly to present a claim for a place in the Ashes squad that will face Australia at home after the ICC World Cup in 2019.

Citing the example of former England international Jonathan Trott who scored a century on debut in 2009 against Australia, Cook said, ” The Ashes is still seven months away so a lot can happen in sport – four Tests, but a lot can happen in that time. Jonathan Trott came in and did well in a big Test match when we had to win a game and he got 100 – you have to deal with what’s in front of you.”

Denly made his first international appearance since 2009 when he took field in a T20I against Sri Lanka last October. On return, he played a crucial role, picking up four wickets to take the player-of-the-match award.