Uncapped pair Simon Kerrigan and Chris Woakes are surprise call-ups to England’s squad for the final Ashes Test - but a double debut is a long shot at the Kia Oval.
Maiden Tests are a relative rarity in the very successful and regimental Andy Flower era, and not since Michael Carberry and Steven Finn began their careers against Bangladesh in Chittagong in March 2010 has there been more than one debutant in the same match.
Circumstances are slightly skewed this week, however, and England’s selectors have left nothing to chance by naming a belt-and-braces squad of 14.
The obvious reading is that second spinner Kerrigan and bowling all-rounder Woakes are in the mix purely, on this valedictory occasion with the Ashes already won for a third successive time, for the experience of rubbing shoulders with an established guard they may be joining during next winter’s rematch in Australia.
Chris Tremlett, one of two seam-bowling additions alongside Finn to the team which made it 3-0 at Chester-le-Street, is an obvious choice to return on his home ground in place of the injured Tim Bresnan.
Kerrigan and Woakes’ inclusion is intriguing, and leaves room for plenty of second-guessing as to England’s closely-guarded motives.