Three uncapped players in England's Ashes squad
England selectors have drafted in three uncapped players in a 16-man squad for the Ashes series in Australia that begins in November.
Somerset fast bowler Craig Overton, Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and leg-spinner Mason Crane will all be part of the five-match Test series against Steven Smith's men that also includes a day-night encounter in Adelaide.
Foakes has played 76 first-class games, scoring close to 4,000 runs at an average of 42.85 while Overton is fifth in leading wicket-taker in the ongoing season of County Championship Division One with 46 wickets (including the game in progress). Crane, who is from Hampshire also has 16 wickets from seven games but is unlikely to make it to the XI with Moeen Ali being the front-line spinner.
“We have provided (captain) Joe Root and (coach) Trevor Bayliss with a well-balanced squad with options in all areas,” said national selector James Whitaker in a statement.
“Foakes deserves his selection for the first time at this level. His glovework has been exemplary and he is regarded as a wicketkeeper of the highest quality.”
Dawid Malan has managed to retain his place while Gary Ballance and James Vince managed to get a recall after England's experiments with Tom Westley finally ended. Malan, Ballance and Vince are expected to battle it out for two spots in the XI.
”The selectors are backing James Vince to make an impact on his recall to the Test squad,“ said Whitaker. ”He is a quality strokeplayer and we believe his game will suit the Australian pitches.
“His understanding of the England set-up will help him settle into the environment quickly and hit the ground running when we arrive in Perth next month.”
Meanwhile, Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes has been added to the squad despite concerns about his recent incident in Bristol which saw him arrested on early morning on Monday and later released without a charge.
Former England captain Mike Atherton has warned Stokes of being targetted in Australia following the recent incident.
"With the investigation under way, who knows whether there may be legal ramifications that will imperil his participation in Australia," he wrote in the Times newspaper.
"Australians, on and off the field, will need no encouragement to get under his skin. Unwittingly, Stokes has brought a little more scrutiny and pressure to bear on a tour that will not be short of either."
Stuart Broad and the recently joined 500-club member James Anderson will lead the pace attack that will be accompanied by Chris Woakes, Jake Ball, Overton and Stokes with Ali and Crane being the spinners.
The five-match series will be played between 23rd November and 8th January 2018 with Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney being the venues.
England's Ashes squad:
Squad: Joe Root (captain), Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Gary Ballance, James Vince, Moeen Ali, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jake Ball, Craig Overton.
© Cricket World 2017