SIX Yorkshire players - led by Sheffield’s Joe Root - have been named in a 16-man England touring party for three Tests in the West Indies later this year.
The squad, announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Wednesday morning, includes Root, Adil Rashid, Adam Lyth, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Gary Ballance.
Jonathan Trott has returned to an England squad for the first time since having to leave the 2013-14 Ashes with a stress-related problem, and there is a return for Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes as well as a place for his fast-bowling county team-mate Mark Wood.
Lyth is likely to contend with Trott for a vacant opener’s slot alongside Alastair Cook in place of the dropped Sam Robson.
Lyth and Rashid are among six Yorkshire players selected as Cook picks up the reins again after being replaced as World Cup captain before Christmas, only for England to then endure a miserable early exit from the global tournament under Eoin Morgan.
Eight of those who fell short in the 50-over format, knocked out by Bangladesh last week, are retained for the Test trip to the Windies which begins early next month.
Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, who both finished the World Cup injured, are not among them as they recover from their respective side and foot problems - although the Worcestershire all-rounder may join the tour later, depending on his progress.
National selector James Whitaker takes note of the importance of starting an Ashes year well.
He said: “This series marks the start of a busy period of Test Match cricket for the England team, and I am sure that Alastair and the players will all be keen to build on the success they enjoyed last summer against India.
“Jonathan Trott produced some outstanding performances for Warwickshire last summer, scoring five centuries, and also made an unbeaten double-hundred during the recent successful England Lions tour.
“He is a player of proven international pedigree, and we are delighted to welcome him back into the squad.
“Adam, Adil and Mark are all players who have performed impressively over the last 12 months - and they will now have an opportunity to push for a regular place in the Test side’s starting line-up.”
England’s prospective Test newcomers all pressed their cases with encouraging performances on the Lions’ tour of South Africa this winter.
Trott, who was captain, did so too - notably with that unbeaten double-century against South Africa A in Paarl - as he confirmed the return to form he demonstrated for Warwickshire in the second half of last summer.
The South Africa-born batsman made his way back into first-class cricket tentatively at first, and needed a second short break early in the 2014 season before rediscovering his best.
Trott, who will be 34 next month, is unlikely to be back in the England number three position he made his own for several years - because Gary Ballance has been such a success there.
Instead it seems sure to be a battle between him and Lyth - who gets the call ahead of another young Yorkshireman, Alex Lees - to push for the chance to open with Cook.
Leg-spinning all-rounder Rashid, 27, played the last of his 10 limited-overs matches for England more than five years ago.
But he has been given another chance in a squad also containing James Tredwell as a frontline spin option, in the absence of Moeen.
Wood took 18 wickets in seven LV= County Championship appearances last season, following on from 27 at an average of 24 in 2013 and 19 in five games the year before that.
He said: “I am delighted. Especially when I haven’t played that many games, it is good that people have seen something in me.
“The Lions tour was fantastic and couldn’t have gone any better for me. I managed to put a run of games together and put in the performances and that has obviously stood me in good stead.”
Wood’s fellow paceman James Anderson is on 99 Test caps and, barring injury, the Lancashire man will surely reach his century when the first Test begins on April 13.