Whitaker has rotation in mind
England are prepared for a summer of rotation after national selector James Whitaker admitted their seam bowlers may not be able to last the course of a gruelling Test series against India.
The players who were beaten in a home series by Sri Lanka for the first time have been retained for the first Investec Test against India at Trent Bridge next week, complete with 12th man Chris Woakes, while fast-bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes has been added to the squad.
That means England will join up in Nottingham with six pacemen in their group, two of whom must surely be culled from the first XI.
But, far from being an unbalanced or lop-sided group, Whitaker expects each of the chosen seamers to take part in the series.
Between July 9 and August 19, England and India will play five Tests - a burden the hosts do not expect everyone to be able to bear.
"We have got five Test matches in a very short space of time and one of the reasons to include six seamers there is that we believe at some stage they're all going to play," said Whitaker.
"At the start of the series while they're talking about the Indians and strategy and tactics it makes sense to include that group so they get the first-hand knowledge straight away.
"We would like to think that the four who get picked on the day play brilliantly well and stay fantastically fit and the world's perfect, but realistically we need a group."
At 31, James Anderson is a prize asset who must be treated carefully, while Stuart Broad is a three-format regular who has been battling patella tendinitis for several months.
There are no immediate fitness concerns about the new-ball pair, but assessment will continue over the summer.
Whitaker said: "We know (Anderson and Broad) are 100 per cent fit, they have been passed off fit by the medical team to be included, but they did just play back-to-back Tests and there will be fatigue that builds up."
Stokes' return, after bagging 10 wickets in his last four-day match for Durham, presents a happy selection dilemma for England.
As the breakout star of an otherwise dismal Ashes whitewash over the winter - the previously uncapped Stokes took 15 wickets in four games as well as scoring a maiden Test century - his comeback is a virtual certainty.
He would have been present already had he not broken his wrist punching a locker in the West Indies, forcing him out of the World Twenty20 and delaying his pre-season.
But in his absence Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan have both staked claims as all-round talents.
Moeen, as the squad's primary spinner and scorer of a belligerently brilliant century last time out, seems safe but Jordan's form dipped sufficiently at Headingley for him to give way to the allure of Stokes.
"Ben i s a vivacious character, he's got some 'X factor', he's fantastic on flat wickets and gets some movement off the pitch," said Whitaker.
"We're excited about Ben."