@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read
England have named a 17-strong squad for this winter’s Ashes Test series in Australia, selecting the “strongest available” group possible, despite the suggestions of pull-outs by some senior players.
Joe Root will captain the side, with Jos Buttler, seemingly the most reluctant among England’s tourists, named as vice-captain. Zak Crawley has been recalled despite recording an average of 11 for England in Test cricket in 2021 and playing 12 County Championship games for Kent this season without a century. Rory Burns, Dawid Malan, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, and Ollie Pope are the other batters in the squad.
There are few surprises in the squad, though Dom Sibley and Ben Foakes will have reason to feel aggrieved. The former struggled in Test cricket this summer, but had previously forged a steady opening partnership with Rory Burns at the top of the order and played a key role in Warwickshire’s title charge in Division One. Foakes played three Tests in India, impressing with his glovework, with injury ruling him out of much of the season. England’s backup keeper in the squad is Jonny Bairstow, retained despite not passing 60 in 34 Test innings since the start of 2019.
Mark Wood is the sole out-and-out pacer in the squad, with James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton the other seamers in the squad. Stuart Broad has also been recalled as he continues his recovery from a torn right calf. Woakes is also the sole all-rounder in the squad, with Sam Curran out of the tour due to a stress fracture, Ben Stokes continuing to take time out of the game, and Moeen Ali having retired from Test cricket recently.
Jack Leach and Dom Bess make up the spin contingent, preferred to wrist-spin options Matt Parkinson and Mason Crane.
“A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer,” said head coach and selector Chris Silverwood. “I am delighted that all of our available players have committed to the tour. We are looking forward to touring and enjoying the experience of this historic series.
“This is why we play and coach to be involved in iconic series like this. More than half of our squad haven’t featured in an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace the cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world.
“I believe we have selected a well-balanced squad with options in all areas and a blend of youth and experience. There is real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete, aiming to create some history.
“We are under 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 on them to win this series. However, from our point of view, there is genuine excitement and 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 compelling series. We can enjoy the build-up to the tour, get out there, and prepare well ahead of the first Test in Brisbane.
England will be accompanied by a Lions squad, yet to be announced, with both groups departing England on November 4.
“Having the Lions with the Ashes squad will be integral to our build-up. The extended group of players will be with us before the first Test. We will play two competitive warm-up games amongst both squads to give us the match practice we need as part of our build-up. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect the Lions into the England environment and gain a good understanding of what is required to play at the highest level.”
England Test squad for the men’s Ashes in Australia: Joe Root (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, Dom Bess, Dan Lawrence, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Rory Burns, Craig Overton.