England Cricket Board (ECB) announced a 16-member squad for the winter Ashes series to be played in Australia in 2017/18.
As expected, Garry Ballance and James Vince have been called-up. While the former played his last Test against South Africa recently, the latter made his previous appearance for England in the previous year. Both were in the scheme of things, and the inclusion did not come as a surprise.
Keaton Jennings was not selected in the side after his poor outing against South Africa, which also saw him being dropped for series against Windies eventually. His axing meant that Mark Stoneman was confirmed to open the innings with former captain Alastair Cook. Stoneman made his Test debut against England, where he mustered 120 runs in five outings to the crease.
Haseeb Hameed could have been one of the contenders for the opening job, due to him finding form recently but all his hopes were quashed after an injury to his finger.
The squad has a total of three uncapped players in the form of Craig Overton, Mason Crane and Ben Foakes – who is the deputy to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Ben Stokes was retained as the vice-captain, amidst the reports of board considering to drop him from the job. He is the second pace bowling all-rounder along with regular Chris Woakes.
In the pace department which is spearheaded by James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Jake Ball was added to the list. An injury to Toby Roland-Jones had already ruled him out of the contention.
The first Test of the series will be played at the Gabba in Brisbane. The following Test will be a pink ball affair – a second time for both the teams – which will be staged at Adelaide. Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will host the last three games of the historical series.
The last time when England travelled to Australia for Ashes series, they were crushed by the margin of 5-0, but they regained the Ashes urn in 2015 when the Alastair Cook-led side won the series by a margin of 3-2.
It will be an arduous test for Joe Root to retain the urn, on his first tour to Australia as captain.
The squad is as follows:
(Image Credits: ECB)
Joe Root(c), Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, David Malan, Gary Ballance, James Vince, Moeen Ali, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jake Ball, Craig Overton.