Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

England have confirmed that a group of almost full strength will travel to Australia for this summer’s Ashes series, but Ben Stokes remains indefinitely and is missing another consecutive Ashes tour.

Stokes and Jofra Archer (elbow) are the two biggest names missing in the squad of 17 players who have not seen any players retire due to COVID or quarantine.

The squad announcement comes after the England and Wales Cricket Board issued a statement on Friday signaling that the Vodafone Ashes series of five tests would begin as planned in Brisbane on 8 December.

England squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, David Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes , Mark Wood.

Joe Root will be the captain of a team that includes all of Jos Buttler, the vice-captain, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Mark Wood, who were among those whose participation at one point was far from certain.

This group is all currently with England’s T20 World Cup squad in Oman, where they have set up their pre-tournament base, and will spend a month away before heading to the ashes.

“A tour of Australia is top notch as an England Test cricketer. I’m glad all our available players have committed to the tour,” said England head coach and selector Chris Silverwood.

“More than half of our teams have not been on an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world.”

England have stuck with Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Zak Crawley as top-order options with Malan, Root, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence along with wicketkeeper batters Bairstow and Buttler in the middle order.

As Moeen Ali recently retired from Test cricket, Jack Leach and Dom Bess will occupy two spinning spots.

Veteran sailors James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been included to lead the sea ranks for what may well be their Ashes tail song.

It will be the fifth Ashes tour for 39-year-old Anderson and fourth for 35-year-old Broad. The pair have 1,156 test wickets between them.

Broad is said to be making “excellent progress” in recovering from a torn right calf muscle and returning to bowling next week.

The nail bowling support comes from Woakes, Wood, Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson.

All-rounder Sam Curran has been diagnosed with a lumbar spine fracture and is facing a lengthy period on the sidelines. He was forced to withdraw from the Indian Premier League and T20 World Cup with the question.

“I think we have chosen a well-balanced squad with opportunities in all areas and a mix of youth and experience,” Silverwood added.

“There’s real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete with the aim of creating some history.

“We have no illusions about how difficult the task is going to be. Australia have been strong at home in the past and there is an expectation that they will win this series.

“But from our point of view, there is real excitement and the belief that we can do something special.

“Both teams are in similar positions in the Test world rankings. For that reason, it should be a convincing series. We can enjoy the build-up to the trip, get out there and prepare well in advance of the first test in Brisbane.”

England have only won one of their last nine Test matches, including losing three of their six completed home tests in 2021, but will bring a battle-hardened team.

Australia have not played Test cricket since last summer when they lost the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1 at home.

The England Lions squad, which will travel in parallel with the Ashes tour, and which could have major consequences for KFC BBL’s list of international recruits, is to be named next week.

Five of the eight BBL clubs have so far named English players to battle against Lions selection.

“Having the lions with the ash team will be an integral part of our build,” Silverwood said. “The extended group of players will be with us before the first test.

“We play two competitive warm-up matches between both teams to give us the combat training we need as part of our build-up.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to connect the Lions with the England environment and gain a good understanding of what it takes to play at the highest level.”

England’s Test specialists and Lions squad are due to leave on 4 November, subject to conditions, and the players from the T20 World Cup squad will join after the tournament, which is scheduled to end on 14 November.

Vodafone men’s ashes in England

England squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, David Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes , Mark Wood

First test: 8.-12. December, The Gabba

Second test: 16.-20. December, Adelaide Oval

Third test: 26.-30. December, MCG

Fourth test: 5-9. January, SCG

Fifth test: 14.-18. January, Perth Stadium

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