Jos Buttler selected as England name strongest possible squad for Australia Ashes tour

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

England have named a 17-man squad for this winter’s Ashes tour without any withdrawals due to Covid-19 protocols but still beset by the absence of star players such as Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.

Joe Root will lead a squad featuring no uncapped players, meaning there is no call for the Lancashire trio of fast bowler Saqib Mahmood, legspinner Matt Parkinson or batter Liam Livingstone. All three could feature in an England Lions squad set to tour alongside the main party, providing warm-up opposition.

Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood will all tour, despite being among the players harbouring reservations about living arrangements on tour. Those three, along with Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan, will travel from the T20 World Cup in the UAE. The bulk of the squad will depart for Australia on November 4.

Stuart Broad is selected, and is due to return to bowling this week after a calf injury this summer, is one of six seamers selected, alongside James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton, Woakes and Wood, the only out and out quick.

That is because Archer and Olly Stone are injured. Sam Curran is also unavailable following confirmation that he has a stress fracture of the back.

England will miss Ben Stokes who lit up the last Ashes series. (Getty Images)
England will miss Ben Stokes who lit up the last Ashes series. (Getty Images)

Spin bowling will be provided by Jack Leach and Dom Bess, with Moeen Ali recently retired and Parkinson overlooked.

All-rounder Stokes’ indefinite absence – to prioritise his mental wellbeing and badly injured left index finger – has more of an impact on England’s batting. It is a long shot that he will be play any part in the tour.

Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed are the incumbent openers, with Malan at three and Root at four. Zak Crawley provides top order cover, while Ollie Pope, Bairstow and Dan Lawrence will compete for spots in the middle order.

“A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer,” said 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.

This will almost certainly be Jimmy Anderson’s final Ashes series in Australia (Getty Images)
This will almost certainly be Jimmy Anderson’s final Ashes series in Australia (Getty Images)

“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.”

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