The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) selectors have announced a 16-man squad for their tour of South Africa on Thursday.

The most important decision that national selectors made was the axing of English middle-order batsman Ian Bell, who is known to score big in the longest format of the game. It has been quite some time now that Bell has struggled with the red ball and has given his wicket away most of the time. He had retired from ODI cricket to elongate his Test career but one might believe that it did not help the cause at all. 

Nick Compton has been recalled in the England Test squad after a long time. The right-handed opener will solidify the top order alongside skipper Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Gary Ballance who also have been named in this 16-man squad that will be travelling to South Africa in the upcoming month for a Test series.

"Ian Bell has been an outstanding player for many years and undoubtedly still has plenty to offer England in the future. It was clearly a difficult decision but he has struggled for runs in recent series and we felt that it was the right time for him to take a break and spend time working on his game out of the spotlight," national selector James Whitaker told the reporters on Thursday. 

"The inclusion of Nick Compton and Gary Ballance alongside Alex Hales, Joe Root and James Taylor gives Trevor Bayliss and Alastair Cook plenty of options in the top order."

Injuries have ruled out Mark Wood and Steven Finn. Liam Plunkett, surprisingly, has not managed to find a place in this English squad for the South Africa tour. Samit Patel has been named as the spinner for this tour. Adil Rashid has been dropped stating the reason that he needs to prepare himself for the ICC World T20 2016 and thus, he will be participating in the Big Bash League in Australia this year. 

"Adil Rashid showed plenty of promise in the UAE but the conditions in South Africa make the likelihood of playing two spinners extremely remote. Although he would have been selected as a back up spinner we feel there is an excellent opportunity for him to spend some time developing his white ball skills in the lead up to the ICC World T20 in March. It is likely that Adil will travel to Australia to play for a Big Bash franchise," Whitaker added. 

Here's the England Test squad for the South Africa tour:

Alastair Cook (C), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Nick Compton, Mark Footitt, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Samit Patel, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Chris Woakes.