England selects experienced squad for Ashes tour
LONDON (AP) — England named a 17-man squad for this winter’s Ashes tour on Sunday, with head coach Chris Silverwood leaning on familiar faces for the trip.
Silverwood and captain Joe Root are unable to call on a full-strength group due to the continued hiatus of star all-rounder Ben Stokes and injuries to Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Sam Curran but fears over players opting out due to concerns over Australia’s travel restrictions have not materialized.
Following successful discussions with Cricket Australia over arrangements for families and quarantine, there have been no opt-outs as England bids to regain the Ashes.
As a result, the squad has a tried and trusted feel, with no uncapped test players selected. That means potential selections such as Lancashire trio Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson and Saqib Mahmood have all been overlooked but they can expect to form part of the Lions squad that will shadow the early stages of the tour and could yet be called upon.
Root stands alone as the only established world-class batter, backed up by Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence, while Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler travel as batting wicketkeepers.
While Stokes’ absence has long been expected — he has already missed the India test series, the resumption of the Indian Premier League and the T20 World Cup as he prioritizes his mental health and recovery from a finger injury — fellow all-rounder Curran was a late withdrawal.
Curran’s bowling may not have been perfectly suited to Australian conditions but he could have offered balance and variety to the side in Stokes’ absence. However, the lower back injury that forced him out of the World Cup squad has now been diagnosed as a stress fracture requiring specialist treatment.
Jack Leach and Dom Bess are the two frontline spinners, while Mark Wood is the solitary express pace option in a seam attack led by England bowling greats James Anderson and Stuart Broad on what could be their Ashes farewell. Ollie Robinson, after a breakthrough first summer in international cricket, is primed for a key role.
Silverwood said the willingness of every available player to sign up for the contest reflected well on Root, who has already won more tests than any other England captain.
“There were a lot of negotiations that went on and one thing we did see was a lot of class from our captain. He really did lead from the front,” Silverwood said. “He showed a lot of empathy and a lot of really good leadership skills to get the players to this point. His players have got behind him and will follow him.”
The first test starts Dec. 8 at Brisbane.
Squad: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports