England have announced their 17 man squad that they will be taking to Australia for the forthcoming ashes series.
The usual suspects have all been included – Cook, Root, Trott, Pieterson, Bell, Prior, Bairstow, Finn, Broad, Swann and Anderson, the only exception being Tim Bresnan who is suffering from a back injury. The additions include new, uncapped players. Rankin, Stokes and Balance would all be making their debuts in this historical series.
Boyd Rankin is an impressive talent. He’s also proof that England’s back up bowlers are just as threatening as the main stays.
The quick, bouncy pitches in Australia should help his style of bowling so if I were Michael Clarke I’d be buying a few more helmets.
It’s also good to see Gary Ballance receive recognition for a successful season for Yorkshire. Despite this recognition it’s unlikely that he’ll play but I think that he’s now ready to step up to the test arena and deserves his selection. An attacking batsmen, if Ballance plays he should bat at six.
The Stokes selection however worries me. I can’t see how he fits into the seven batsmen, four bowlers system that England use. He isn’t good enough to be a third seamer in a four man attack or a number six batsmen with seven batsmen including Prior. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a talented player and I like him, but I don’t think he has a place in England’s Test team as it stands.
England had a chance to try him in the last ashes test match at the Oval, but instead selected Chris Woakes. I am surprised that Stokes is going to Australia instead of Woakes, having played Woakes in the last test but I suppose his performance in the ODI’s warranted the selection.
I’m also glad to write about Monty once again and I think it would be best if we glossed over his discrepancies. After going through a rough patch, it’s good to see that he has turned his career round. Offering something different to Swann, they’re ideal spin twins.
Chris Tremlett is another player to make a return to the test arena, having recovered from his back injury. Hopefully his success in the last tour of Australia will be repeated. A similar bowler to Rankin, it will be interesting who is higher in the pecking order.
The other surprise is the selection of Michael Carberry. After a great domestic season he has the opportunity to add to his solitary test cap. If he makes the IX the options are for him to open the batting with Cook, putting Joe Root at six or, he could end up at six himself. On the other hand, If the selectors prefer Bairstow then he would have to carry drinks for the entire tour.
The final IX is debatable. There are several options that the selectors could choose. Having the performance squad stationed in Australia also creates further possibilities.