October 28, 2021

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England names ‘strongest available squad’ for Ashes tour

England has named a 17-man squad for the upcoming men’s Ashes tour to Australia, 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 of the tour because of concerns about Australia’s travel restrictions have not materialised.

Following successful discussions with Cricket Australia (CA) over arrangements for families and quarantine, no player opted out of touring.

As a result, the tour party — described in an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) media statement as its “strongest available squad” — has a tried and trusted feel, with no uncapped Test players selected.

Ten of the 17 will be touring Australia in an Ashes series for the first time, including vice-captain Jos Buttler.

Veteran fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been selected for the fifth and fourth Ashes tours of their respective careers.

Broad has been troubled by a calf injury he sustained in England’s Test series against India, but the ECB said the 35-year-old was making “excellent progress” with his recovery.

The ECB said Stokes was not available for selection as he continued to take an indefinite break from all cricket to “prioritise his mental wellbeing and rehabilitation from his injured left index finger”.

England batsman Ben Stokes holds his bat up to signify his half-century in a Test at The Oval.England batsman Ben Stokes holds his bat up to signify his half-century in a Test at The Oval.
England will be without the injured Ben Stokes in Australia.(

AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth

)

While Stokes’s absence has long been expected, 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’s absence.

A lower-back injury sustained by Curran has now been diagnosed as a stress fracture requiring specialist treatment.

“I believe we have selected a well-balanced squad with options in all areas and a blend of youth and experience,” Silverwood said in the ECB statement.

“There is real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete, aiming to create some history.

“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.”

The ECB stated again the Ashes tour was subject to “several critical conditions” being met by CA before the tour party departs for Australia on November 4.

The first Test is scheduled to begin at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8.

England 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

AP/ABC

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