The Ashes 2013-14 September 21, 2013

Rankin likely for Ashes, but questions remain

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Debates over the identity of the second spinner, reserve wicketkeeper and reserve batsmen will occupy the minds of the England selectors ahead of the announcement of the Ashes squad on Monday.

While it is possible to predict, fitness permitting, nine of the 11 that will represent England in the first Test in Brisbane, the choice of the remaining members of the squad is as open as it has been for several years. Several players face agonising disappointment or great elation.

There is little prospect of England picking two spinners in any of the Tests in Australia. While there was a time when such a scenario was a possibility in Sydney, those days have largely gone. When Australia beat Sri Lanka there in January, their spinner, Nathan Lyon, claimed only two wickets.

So the second spinner in the Ashes squad is there in case Graeme Swann suffers injury. Whoever is selected must be capable of performing the role of lone spinner for England in an Ashes Test.

The experience of Simon Kerrigan at The Oval illustrates what a hard task that is and how small the pool of candidates remains. While James Tredwell is the type of character - calm, low-maintenance and reliable - that this England management favour, his record in red-ball cricket this season is modest. He has taken only 13 wickets at a cost of 55.76 in the Championship. The form of other experienced players, the likes of Gareth Batty, is similarly modest.

Kerrigan's debut is likely to deter England from considering a similarly untried spinner in Australia. While the likes of Scott Borthwick and Moeen Ali may well be included in performance squad that will shadow the full team for part of the tour, it would be asking a bit much to expect them to fill-in for Swann just yet. Borthwick, the Durham legspinner, is an attractive option, but he does not, at this stage, offer the control England require from their Test spinner.

With Kerrigan, for now, out of the picture, Monty Panesar may be the best available reserve to Swann. So long as his off-field issues - and the England management will need assurances about his mental fitness to tour before committing to him - can be controlled, Panesar has the experience and qualities as a bowler to warrant selection. Besides, it may be that a prolonged return to the England camp revives his spirits. Taking him would be a risk, but England are not flush with options.

Indeed, the difficult of the second-spinner selection highlights a major issue: the excellence of Swann continues to mask deficiencies within the reserves of England's spin bowling. His eventual retirement will leave a gaping hole.

England have far more options when it comes to selecting a pack of fast bowlers. While Stuart Broad and James Anderson are certainties, Tim Bresnan is also highly likely to be included, possibly as a 17th man, with a view to him regaining full fitness in the opening weeks of the tour.

Boyd Rankin, too, looks certain to travel. Rankin's pace and hostility in the ODI series against Australia was impressive and, as he relaxes in the England environment, will only grow. He just could prove to be a key player in the Ashes.

The final two fast-bowling spots could be taken by Steven Finn and Graham Onions. While Onions would be, in essence, providing injury cover for Anderson, Finn remains a player of great potential who could come into the side if required. Realistically, though, the trip would prove a chance to work with the England fast bowling coach, David Saker, for a prolonged period.

That would see Chris Tremlett and Chris Woakes missing out. Woakes enjoyed a respectable Test debut at The Oval and might yet prove himself a decent No. 6 but his style of bowling is not particularly well suited to Australian pitches. Tremlett, sadly, has lost the pre-injury nip that made him such a dangerous player.

There could be a couple of batting allrounders in the squad. Ben Stokes, by virtue of his extra pace with the ball, his excellent fielding and his ability with the bat, would be a fine utility player and could balance the side by batting at No. 6. At 22, he is a player in development and there will be times when he frustrates but his all-round talents are obvious and he may prove worth a prolonged period of investment. Ravi Bopara, now rehabilitated, has a strong case for inclusion and could add a few economical overs if required.

The last time England embarked on an Ashes tour, in 2010-11, they did not take a reserve opener. Nick Compton remains the outstanding candidate for the role, but it may be that his reaction to being omitted earlier in the summer has damaged the relationship between him and the England management. Other options include Varun Chopra, Sam Robson and Luke Wells but all are untried at this level, while Michael Carberry has endured a modest season against the red ball. With Joe Root still adjusting to the demands of opening in Test cricket, however, it would be quite a risk not to take some back-up.

The position of reserve wicketkeeper may prove equally contentious. Several players have made a case for inclusion - Steven Davies, Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler among them - but England have invested time in the development of Jonny Bairstow and may well feel that, with his ability to bat and field in several conditions taken into account, he is a decent utility squad member.

Possible England squad: Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Matt Prior, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Graham Onions, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin, Monty Panesar.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY EnglishCricket on | September 21, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    I think Boyd Rankin is a great choice. The guy is fit, sharp and has the desire to succeed at the highest level and on these Australian pitches, he will be a huge nightmare for these Australian batsman due to his height, pace and bounce he can naturally generate. The guy has surprised and impressed a lot since he decided to play for England mainly because of him wanting to play Test Cricket and it looks like he will finally get chosen. I remember fans and experts writing him off that he will never get a chance to play in the England test side because of the quality depth of England's bowling has but looks like Rankin has the last laugh over them. Credit should also be given to Ashley Giles for having great faith in Boyd Rankin otherwise it would've taken much longer for Rankin to get his first taste in the England set-up.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 23, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @jg2704 Are you only counting Championship wickets? There is a First Class stats page.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | September 23, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    I can't believe someone actually selected Gareth Batty! Certainly the worst ever player to play for England in the last 10 years, probably the worst ever spinner or all time! Panesar (he hasn't had a mental breakdown), Tredwell (2 bad games and discarded?), or Rashid (best leggie in country) should be there.

  • POSTED BY DrTchock on | September 23, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Can it at least be acknowledged that Durham is the champion county? And can we remember that 'in the olden days' that used to count for something? Dreaming up the name Luke Wells is simply an attempt to appear knowledgeable about County cricket & score some points. Similarly with Vince (NOT an opener in 4-day cricket & plays in Div2, although a future England regular) & Moeen (2nd Div runs are MUCH cheaper). Why does Mark Stoneman's name not get a mention? He has 1000 championship runs, in 1st Div, for the champion county, whilst batting on a corrugated sheet at the Riverside every other week. He scores his runs at a one-day strike-rate, has played 5 or 6 summers in Oz, is a fantastic back-foot player, is a great fielder & is rated highly enough by Durham to captain the one-day & T20 sides. Why is his name not mentioned whilst these other 'southern' boys get talked up. And the other debate isnt worth even pursuing - James Anderson aside, Graham Onions is the best seamer in England.

  • POSTED BY pragmatist on | September 23, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Can't see them taking Compton. Carberry will be the reserve opener... Tremlett has to go given the impact he made last time. No obvious second spinner comes to mind. Bairstow the reserve keeper although Buttler may get a chance.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | September 23, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    They should take Taylor as back up batsman.Moeen Ali deserves a go as well but plays for Worcs so no chance.David Willey should be on a tour as should Topley.Shame we can't get Wasim in to coach the left armers.

    As for all the Aussie posters we all know you are unbeatable at home and that whatever we put up will be demolished. But given all the young fast bowling talent you have does it not worry you that without Harris you would have been in trouble.

    Also apart from Smith the only decent innings came from Rogers who is 35, Clarke who is a walking back injury and Watson who frankly is a walking wicket if England bowl properly.

    The England batting order play better on pitches with same pace and bounce which especially suits Cook and Pietersen. We know the hype will have started already but lets be honest you have not won a test for ages. The way you carry on you would think you were an all time great side. The empty vessels make the most noise obviously

  • POSTED BY Cyril_Knight on | September 23, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Kerrigan cannot play for England at the moment, he is a bottle-job. England threw him in in a dead Test to see if he had the nerve, he melted. They will not pick a player who does not have the mental strength for Test cricket. Alistair Cook doesn't trust him, he showed that by refusing to bowl him again at The Oval. A captain must have complete faith his bowlers, especially when they work to such rigid plans as England.

    As for Steve Davies. I've seen every 1st Division keeper this season and he is by far the best package. His keeping in 2012 was awful as he struggled with concentration (for obvious Maynard related reasons). But this season he was back to his best (not that he got many catches with Surrey's terrible bowling). No other keeper comes close to his ability with the bat. @Mark Gowers if you think that Simpson is a better keeper then Davies you're nuts, Gary Wilson, is so if you meant him then fair enough.

  • POSTED BY Kidderwolf on | September 23, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    To be fair to Davies, he has scored 3 centuries over the course of the season, and average isn't that bad when you condider he has been one of the few decent players in an awful season for Surrey. At times he has had to dig in and show some grit which has helped his cause.

    I take the point about his keeping though, the last couple of seasons he hasn't been at his best, but like, most keepers that will come with greater maturity.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    i cant believe Steve Davies even gets a mention,one hundred in the last game of the season and his keeping!He isnt the best keeper in London in fact technically hes one of the worst in the country.Its time we went back to picking the best keeper and then look at the batting.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | September 23, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @Steve O'Nions @Darren Cook I really think it's about time the team play under the title of The UK then. Steve, you're right, he's from Northern Ireland, therefore a British citizen by birth. But that doesn't change the fact that he's playing for the *England & Wales* Cricket Board. Not the "England, Wales and Northern Ireland" Cricket Board. Not sure where this would leave Scotland, but in the current set up, there is far too much ambiguity over the place of Northern Irish cricketers.

  • POSTED BY EnglishCricket on | September 21, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    I think Boyd Rankin is a great choice. The guy is fit, sharp and has the desire to succeed at the highest level and on these Australian pitches, he will be a huge nightmare for these Australian batsman due to his height, pace and bounce he can naturally generate. The guy has surprised and impressed a lot since he decided to play for England mainly because of him wanting to play Test Cricket and it looks like he will finally get chosen. I remember fans and experts writing him off that he will never get a chance to play in the England test side because of the quality depth of England's bowling has but looks like Rankin has the last laugh over them. Credit should also be given to Ashley Giles for having great faith in Boyd Rankin otherwise it would've taken much longer for Rankin to get his first taste in the England set-up.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 23, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @jg2704 Are you only counting Championship wickets? There is a First Class stats page.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | September 23, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    I can't believe someone actually selected Gareth Batty! Certainly the worst ever player to play for England in the last 10 years, probably the worst ever spinner or all time! Panesar (he hasn't had a mental breakdown), Tredwell (2 bad games and discarded?), or Rashid (best leggie in country) should be there.

  • POSTED BY DrTchock on | September 23, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Can it at least be acknowledged that Durham is the champion county? And can we remember that 'in the olden days' that used to count for something? Dreaming up the name Luke Wells is simply an attempt to appear knowledgeable about County cricket & score some points. Similarly with Vince (NOT an opener in 4-day cricket & plays in Div2, although a future England regular) & Moeen (2nd Div runs are MUCH cheaper). Why does Mark Stoneman's name not get a mention? He has 1000 championship runs, in 1st Div, for the champion county, whilst batting on a corrugated sheet at the Riverside every other week. He scores his runs at a one-day strike-rate, has played 5 or 6 summers in Oz, is a fantastic back-foot player, is a great fielder & is rated highly enough by Durham to captain the one-day & T20 sides. Why is his name not mentioned whilst these other 'southern' boys get talked up. And the other debate isnt worth even pursuing - James Anderson aside, Graham Onions is the best seamer in England.

  • POSTED BY pragmatist on | September 23, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Can't see them taking Compton. Carberry will be the reserve opener... Tremlett has to go given the impact he made last time. No obvious second spinner comes to mind. Bairstow the reserve keeper although Buttler may get a chance.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | September 23, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    They should take Taylor as back up batsman.Moeen Ali deserves a go as well but plays for Worcs so no chance.David Willey should be on a tour as should Topley.Shame we can't get Wasim in to coach the left armers.

    As for all the Aussie posters we all know you are unbeatable at home and that whatever we put up will be demolished. But given all the young fast bowling talent you have does it not worry you that without Harris you would have been in trouble.

    Also apart from Smith the only decent innings came from Rogers who is 35, Clarke who is a walking back injury and Watson who frankly is a walking wicket if England bowl properly.

    The England batting order play better on pitches with same pace and bounce which especially suits Cook and Pietersen. We know the hype will have started already but lets be honest you have not won a test for ages. The way you carry on you would think you were an all time great side. The empty vessels make the most noise obviously

  • POSTED BY Cyril_Knight on | September 23, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Kerrigan cannot play for England at the moment, he is a bottle-job. England threw him in in a dead Test to see if he had the nerve, he melted. They will not pick a player who does not have the mental strength for Test cricket. Alistair Cook doesn't trust him, he showed that by refusing to bowl him again at The Oval. A captain must have complete faith his bowlers, especially when they work to such rigid plans as England.

    As for Steve Davies. I've seen every 1st Division keeper this season and he is by far the best package. His keeping in 2012 was awful as he struggled with concentration (for obvious Maynard related reasons). But this season he was back to his best (not that he got many catches with Surrey's terrible bowling). No other keeper comes close to his ability with the bat. @Mark Gowers if you think that Simpson is a better keeper then Davies you're nuts, Gary Wilson, is so if you meant him then fair enough.

  • POSTED BY Kidderwolf on | September 23, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    To be fair to Davies, he has scored 3 centuries over the course of the season, and average isn't that bad when you condider he has been one of the few decent players in an awful season for Surrey. At times he has had to dig in and show some grit which has helped his cause.

    I take the point about his keeping though, the last couple of seasons he hasn't been at his best, but like, most keepers that will come with greater maturity.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    i cant believe Steve Davies even gets a mention,one hundred in the last game of the season and his keeping!He isnt the best keeper in London in fact technically hes one of the worst in the country.Its time we went back to picking the best keeper and then look at the batting.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | September 23, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @Steve O'Nions @Darren Cook I really think it's about time the team play under the title of The UK then. Steve, you're right, he's from Northern Ireland, therefore a British citizen by birth. But that doesn't change the fact that he's playing for the *England & Wales* Cricket Board. Not the "England, Wales and Northern Ireland" Cricket Board. Not sure where this would leave Scotland, but in the current set up, there is far too much ambiguity over the place of Northern Irish cricketers.

  • POSTED BY Vishnu27 on | September 23, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    CricketingStargazer: no doubt Broad will revel in the conditions here (he will be a major concern for Australia in current form). Finn will enjoy the conditions, but can't continue to leak runs & release pressure when attacked (as he will be). Anderson finally had some success last time in Australia when the conditions were more to his liking. If both Rankin & Tremlett are fit, they should tour here. The problem will be how your batsmen handle the extra pace & bounce. Trott clearly has issues that are going to get a thorough examination this summer. As to your bowling speed point: I think we will see the Australian attack bowl with greater pace with the Kookaburra ball with not having to worry about controlling the swing of the Dukes.

  • POSTED BY Vishnu27 on | September 23, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge: clearly Australia's bowling tactics will have a fair bit to say about that, not to mention the very ordinary form of Alistair "277/27.7" Cook. No doubt Australia's bowlers are rubbing their hands together at the thought of knocking over Root, Cook & Trott in quick succession yet again. Outside Root's streaky Lords knock & Pietersens scratchy 113, there was very little for England's top order to crow about outside Ian Bell. Keep digging your hole nice & deep. There will be many here to remind you all about it early next year.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    @ Jono Makim: To be honest I don't think we really have a reserve spinner of note. Monty Panesar has declined - no shame in that as he's had a decent career anyway - and James Tredwell is a one-day specialist who's out of form. Simon Kerrigan has some work to do on his mental strength and sorting out his action. Scott Borthwick doesn't bowl very often for Durham anymore, and we are not exactly renowned for bowling high-class legspin anyway, are we? Adil Rashid has been going nowhere with the ball for the last 3 years.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 22, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @ CricketingStargazer on (September 22, 2013, 9:38 GMT) Who are you talking about here? If Monty - going by the Cricinfo stats he's taken 23@40.39 for Sussex and 12@33.66 for Essex Kerrigan has taken 57@20.89 for Lancs

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 22, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    @SirViv1973 /Cric J - Re Woakes/Stokes - Woakes has better averages bowling and batting for his respective county than Stokes - albeit only slightly in bowling and from less matches (therefore less runs/wkts) and this after a seemingly leaner season. Re Kerrigan - He trumps Monty this season in both average,wkts and SR and yes there may be no need for 2 spinners in the squad period - but Treadwell? Have you seen his stats this year? I wouldn't judge either player on 1 test - esp Kerrigan as I think Eng if trying a 5 man attack should have had 4 pacemen and only 1 spinner. Also Monty has had a poor season on/off the field and in NZ as the lone spinner he was pretty ineffective. Re Woakes - I'm not saying they should definitely pick him and they should only pick him if they want to go 5/1/5 - I just think feel he's a better option than Woakes Let's face it Woakes or Stokes - Monty or Kerrigan are only likely to be squad players anyway

  • POSTED BY uberBadger on | September 22, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    Woakes always seems to get stick in forums like this because of his bowling struggles in limited over internationals. That's fair criticism, and isn't massively surprising given his poor domestic record in the shorter formats. In fact looking at his figures makes you wonder why on earth England picked him for ODIs.

    However, his record in red ball cricket rivals (and largely betters) that of some of the greats of the game. This doesn't guarantee that he will successfully make the step up to internationals, but it does mean he deserves his chance batting at six, and performing the role of fourth seamer. His batting returns can't be worse than Bairstow's this summer, and having a fourth seamer in the side will provide Cook the ability to rotate the attack and keep everyone fresh on what will be a tough tour for them.

    He's the guy in possession and he deserves his chance.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | September 22, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    @darren. Rankin is from Northern Ireland and therefore a British Citizen by birth.

  • POSTED BY Toon-Harmy on | September 22, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    As someone who has enjoyed the privilege of watching Durham win another title this summer, I'd be shocked if both Graham Onions and Ben Stokes aren't included in the touring party. One player who never gets mentioned in these discussions, much to my annoyance, is Phil Mustard. A wicketkeeper-batsman of huge talent and one who'd give an underperforming Matt Prior reason to rediscover his best form.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | September 22, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Alistair "Mr 766" Cook is itching to get going again on the Gabba track. And the Adelaide one, and he'll take the MCG and Sydney while he's at it too. It's going to be more row upon row of empty seats again, just like famously happened in 2010/11 as Aussie support drains away like bathwater when the plug is taken out. It's a shame that happens. England should definitely take Monty as the second spinner too, what a last away series he had a few months ago.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    @cric_j This was one of the fascinating myths of the Oval Test. In fact, Woakes was bowling as fast as any of the Australians apart from Ryan Harris and, apart from an understandably nervous few overs initially, held his end up well afterwards. In fact, I watched him bowl an outstanding spell where he passed the bat time and again. Everyone though remembers those first few overs and then seemed to stop watching!

    That said, he is not in my 16, nor is he close to it. However, I am sure that he will be in Australia with the Lions.

  • POSTED BY on | September 22, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Shocking if the Irish Rankin gets selected ahead of the English Tremlett!

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | September 22, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    @JG2704 : I see what you mean and understand your preference for a 4 bowlers +1 bowling all rounder strategy. But I am afraid I'll have to agree with @SirViv1973 re not going anywhere near Woakes.

    IMO it's not that he isn't ready for test level but that he isn't ready for it on Australian pitches. He bowls in the lower or mid 80s and doesn't get much bounce off the surface i.e. he won't be able to exploit the 2 best aspects of Aussie pitches. Also, he depends mainly on conventional swing and lateral movt. We saw him struggling at the Oval (although it was his debut) where there was precious little swing on offer. So when the ball stops swinging conventionally, we may have a problem as I'm not sure about his abilities at reversing it. That is he may become more of a liability with the bowl than an asset in the 3rd and 4th inngs.His batting though has looked pretty good and encouraging.

    Also I feel the 4-bowler strategy makes us look more settled and solid and works best for us.

  • POSTED BY RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on | September 22, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    I hope to see this squad: Cook,Root(if he plays positively),Bell,KP,Trott, Prior,Stokes( or Bresnan, if he is fit), Swann,Broad,Anderson,Rankin. Reserves: Compton,Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty,Steve Davies, David Willey,Tremlett & Onions.

    Batty should be the 2nd spinner, because when Swann was injured in NZ, Panesar performed poorly as the frontline spinner, he doesn't have enough talent to neglect his off-field shenanigans. Tredwell is just not penetrative enough for Tests. And I have always had a lot of time for the combative Batty, who will be a like-for-like replacement for Swann, if he is unavailable and that is the kind of replacement u need because 2 spinners will rarely play (so variety is not a bone of contention).

    I admire David Willey's clean, yet authentic stoke-filled hitting and he also has good bowling credentials, so he should be in if Bresnan is unfit. I feel Finn's red-ball form is messy and with so many tall blokes already in, Onions offers better variety.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | September 22, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Whilst I think Bairstow will go fo contininuity's sake I would take Buttler as the new 'people's favourite'. It was hard to escape thinking that as he walked off from batting in 5th ODI that the crowd had taken him to their heart as their favourite. I may be wrong but I do not think so.They may of course take both.I would take Morgan because he is psychologically ahead of the game. His handling of the ODI was such that he stood out as very sorted and capable and able to take charge. Woakes v Stokes-Stokes for bowling certainly.The case might be closer if they wanted more batting than bowling. Both good players. Panesar or Kerrigan? Leave aside social aspects, Monty by a country 100 miles- you can tell him on the morning of a match he is playing and he would be happy,Kerrigan I suspect might be scared. Compton could go as 3rd pener which probably means I am taking about 19 players. it'sgood to see the odd upbeat Aussie post-means the DESPAIR WILL BE ALL THE GREATER.3-1 to England.

  • POSTED BY anton1234 on | September 22, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    Ravi Bopara is a joke of a bowler. I can defend him blindfolded whole day. Even his batting has always been completely hyped. He has played a lot of ODIs and averages in the very low 30s, similar to what a decent allrounder should. When he comes on in the ODIs he either releases the pressure or if England have made a good start then gets a few cheap but innocuous overs through. I would play both Stokes and Woakes in the ODI team (Woakes taking Bopara's place). I think Bopara is sort of a token Asian in the team.

  • POSTED BY THOR7 on | September 22, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    What?? No Tremlett?? What does he have to do to get selected?? Imagine an attack with Rankin, Anderson, Tremlett, Board and Swann... Why do they keep on dropping Tremlett??

  • POSTED BY on | September 22, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    Moeen Ali? Surely he deserves to be in the main squad ahead of "biffer" Bairstow? Excellent fielder, highest 1st class run scorer this season and a very good spin bowler. Not sure what else the bloke has to do to get a chance...Not play for an unfashionable county probably.

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | September 22, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    @jg2704, I'm not convinced kerrigan is an option for this tour given what happened at the oval. I'm also not convinced of the need for a left arm spinner in the squad. I don't think there are likley to be any surfaces that would allow for 2 spinners. I would be tempted to go with treadwell purely as cover for swann. Re the allrounder we all know your preference for 5 bowlers but I wouldn't go anywhere near woakes. His bowling simply isn't threatening enough at test level. He can bat but he's not a number 6. Over the course of a 5 match series his batting may come off once or twice but we need more than that for a no6. Stokes looks a better bowler but his batting isn't quite there yet but perhaps by 2015 he might just be the man. I still think if we are 2 go with 5 then we need bres, broad & swann, without that trio I think we need 2 stick with the 4 man attack.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Sponge on | September 22, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Australia will continue their dominance over visiting teams and dismantle England. I hope the Barmy Army have been saving because they will need twice the beer and also plenty of boxes of tissues because they will be crying all summer! Mitch Johnson will run through their out of form batsman like nothing else. Everyday will be a field day for England because that's where they will spend most of their time!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 22, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    @milepost on (September 22, 2013, 8:35 GMT) - Aus shouldn't be overly worried for sure but while those players you mentioned may have been out of nick a few months can be a long time in cricket. Nick Compton scored 2 tons in NZ and yet a few months later was in horrible form in the return series. Cook was in immense form during the Indian tour but has had a lean English summer. Bell is the opposite with many of us even questioning his place in the side and yet was immense in the Ashes. So no one knows who will/won't perform down under. I'm sure Australian players/coaching staff won't be naive enough to prepare for anything but the best versions of the players you mention and if they are still out of form then that's a bonus.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 22, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    @jg2704 I thought that too and then I looked at the leading wicket-takers among England-qualified spinners. 44 wickets is above everyone apart from Swann. Borthwick is also up there, but at a far poorer average, as is Samit Patel.

  • POSTED BY milepost on | September 22, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    It's a decent squad, nothing great. I doubt the Aussies will be worried, at home they will be expected to do well, as they have done the last few summers. Bell can't keep propping up the batting, and with pretty much every other batsman out of form they will struggle. Root and Cook having a field day at the Gabba? Root would have been dropped if England were getting beaten, he had one score (where he gave a chance on 8, admittedly very poor cricket by the Aussie) and otherwise made nothing scores at a rate of about .22. Cook is hopelessly out of touch, as is KO and Trott. I hope they do pick Rankin, he looks the goods and will trouble the Aussies if he gets it right. The series was lost yes but the Aussies will be buoyed by some good performances and being at home.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 22, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    @cric_J - Thanks bud. I would probably make 2 changes to the Cricinfo squad. Out would go Stokes and Monty and in would come Woakes and either Kerrigan or even Borthwick. Re the all rounder , I think Woakes is more ready than his soundalike. Re the spinner position , they have to look at if there are remotely likely to be any pitches where 2 spinners are required and I wonder if it would be a huge gamble to only pick Swann and take Kerrigan from the Lions if there is an injury to Swann. For me Monty has done nothing on field all season. Last year he had a great tour of India after a great domestic season. This year he's had a poor domestic season after having an ineffective tour as lone spinner of NZ. And Monty brings nothing else to the table. I wouldn't be against Taylor above Nick either. I think Eng are stubborn re their selection policies so they are unlikely to go back to how it was before even if it costs them so for me Nick doesn't go even if I think he should

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 22, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @vishnu That is an important point - at least in part. The climatic conditions in Australia were very unusual during the 2010/11 series. That said, the difference between the two sides over most of that series was so abysmal that England probably would have won anyway.

    For this series, the situation is interesting: fast, bouncy pitches may well favour England more than Australia. Australia has the standout quick in England, but everyone else was low to mid-80s and no one else carried the threat to compare with the England foursome. England have three tall quicks who would love to have pitches with plenty of bounce. Australia may do better on low, slow pitches, designed to neutralise the tall quicks and to bring Fawad Ahmed and Nathan Lyon into the game.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 22, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    @cric_j @jg2704 It looks as if all the debate is over just 3 names. 13 names are certain - the XI from Trent Bridge + Bresnan & Rankin. My guess is that no one outside that 13 would be expected to play barring a crisis of injuries and/or form.

    There is always a spare batsman and a young player taken along for the experience. My guess is that the young player will be Borthwick because he is a "twofer". As it is a committee decision you can expect one or two surprises because the panel may disagree violently on one name, but be able to agree on a second or third choice loved by no one but, even more importantly, opposed strongly by no one.

  • POSTED BY Vishnu27 on | September 22, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Dream on Front-Foot-Lunge! You are glossing over one huge fact: the 'Gabba was a post apocalyptic flood plain the last time you came here. It was completely sodden & flat after being totally submerged in this nation's worst floods in a very long time. That is not the case this time. We will be back to the traditional 'Gabba pace, bounce & carry this time: which history repeatedly tells us England does not like or handle at all well.

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | September 22, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Re Ballance, I'd want him in the squad given his top form in CC and more so because IMO the bounce of the Aussie wickets would really suit his game, he'll have to adjust to the pace a bit though.

    Re bowling, I'd play Jimmy, Broady and Swanny in all matches but for injuries or extremely seam friendly conditions. Jimmy and Swanny are our best and worked wonders in 2010/11 in tandem and I have a feeling that Broady is going to the man this time around.

    That would leave one spot b/w Finny, Bres,Rankin and Onions. Bres had an exceedingly decent run in the home leg but I am a bit unsure about his success on Aussie wickets because: 1) He'll be coming back from injury so fitness will be a concern 2) His mild pace and style of bowling may not be threatening at all on Aussie pitches. Same issues with Onions.

    For this reason, I'd probably go for Finny. If he gets his rhythm right and can pace it up (at Perth esp), he'll be more than a handful.Rankin is similar but inexperienced at this stage.

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | September 22, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    @JG2704 : Ace comments as always. Some excellent points there especially re Onions and the Kerrigan -Monty issue.

    My 17 man squad would be :

    The Core Squad : Cook, Root, Trott, KP, Bell, Bairstow, Prior, Broad, Swann, Bresnan, Anderson, Finn

    Extra/cover bats : Compton and Ballance

    Extra/ Cover bowlers : Rankin, Onions, Monty

    The reason I'd want Compton in the squad is because for all of Joe's excellent record as an opener in the domestic circuit, I haven't been convinced at all with his performance higher up for England. He looked in trouble playing a lot off the backfoot and that is bound to cause him even more discomfort on the faster, bouncier Aussie pitches, Perth in particular. Besides he took perfectly to the no. 6 position and looked pretty settled and solid there. I'd still give him a go at the top for the first 2 matches at least though.

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | September 22, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    The squad in the article looks strong but id make one change... Taylor instead of Compton. The reserve bat at best will get a bat in test 4or 5 (should one of the top 6 get injured and they chose not to select bres as the replacement). Id say England would have a good control of the series by then and it would be a great opportunity for Taylor to get some experience on down under conditions for future ashes matches. The experience of the tour will do more for him than the 30yr old compton

  • POSTED BY on | September 22, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    I am "root"ing for Compton. haha. He deserves another go.

  • POSTED BY on | September 22, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Finn has potential to do well in the next Ashes as he did well when he was called up in the Test against India in 2012. Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan are nowhere near ready for serious Ashes cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | September 22, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    I don't think Bopara can be said to be rehabilitated in the red ball game. His natural preference is to play the ball uppishly, which (when going well) is great for a No5/6 when trying to go over the ring in 50 and 20 over play but always keeps the bowlers in the game in first class and even moreso at test, where the opposition's attack is the best three seamers and spinner in the country.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | September 21, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    @Jon Peters - Vince has had an excellent season, but there's one flaw in your plan - he doesn't open in four day cricket!

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | September 21, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    This certainly looks a strong squad, but really Fiin is the established speedster in the team, has far more experience and should be given the nod if Bresnan is injured. Brezzie's gotta play, who could forget how much he annihilated the Ozzie down under last time. He's due a big score with the bat too, that's if he gets a go after Root and Cook have a field day at the Gabba.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | September 21, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    I'd take Rankin. He troubled all of their batters in the ODI's and looks like he'll be our quickest bowler. No idea if he can sustain that pace spell after spell over five days however and needs to shape the ball away from right handers consistently.

    I would also open with Compton. Although he's not got the ability of some of the other names He's a fighter and should do well in Australia. I think Root will get more runs at 6 for the time being and if Priors form remains sketchy then this will be important in Bresnans absence.

    There is no need for Bresnan to go if not fit, he can join the party after proving his fitness with the performance squad.

    Bairstow will like conditions in Oz and should go as batting cover and wicket keeping cover.

    Stokes and Woakes can both go and fight it out for an all rounders spot if one becomes available and Onions and Finn can provide the seam bowling cover.

    There is only one second spinner worth taking who can fill Swans shoes and that's Panesar.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 21, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    JG2704 I agree with most of your comments, although I would take Stokes with the Lions and Chris Jordan with the main squad. Scott Borthwick would be a good pick as a bat who could bowl a few overs and learn.

    I hope that Nick Compton will make it, but suspect that it will be James Taylor.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | September 21, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    I'm not really sure it matters that much as they will have a lions/performance team out there so there will be 16 players in that besides the 16 players in the main squad. Everyone who is in the frame and on the fringes will be in Oz this winter with either the main team or the performance team

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 21, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    Re the players , not in the possible squad but mentioned a possibilities

    1 - James Taylor - I have a sneaky feeling he'll go instead of Compton

    2 - Ballance - A dark horse. I don't think he'll go despite his 2013 stats but would not be against trying him

    3 - Stephen Davies - Surely they're more likely to take Jonny

    4 - Woakes - He would go in front of Stokes for me. If Bres is injured both may go

    5 - Tremlett - has he done enough this season. For me doesn't deserve to go and won't

    6 - Kerrigan - Unless they think there are pitches where they'll use 2 spinners I'd either take Kerrigan ahead of Monty or just take 1 spinner

    DARK HORSES

    1 - Jos Buttler - He shouldn't go but they have picked players on shorter formats form in the past. It wouldn't 100% shock me though

    2 - Scott Borthwick - a 2nd spin option , decent batting stats. If they want to go for a number 6/7 who can bowl a few overs of spin and has batted on a difficult pitch for much of the season

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 21, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Looking at the possible squad I'd say all are nailed on bar Nick,Stokes,Jonny,Onions,Rankin,Monty

    Re Nick - I'm not sure Eng want him so maybe

    Re Stokes - I'd say not yet and would go for Woakes ahead of him

    Re Jonny - I think they'll take him as cover for Matt as WK but they have the option of taking both Taylor and Nick and having JB in the Lions squad with the possibility of calling him up

    Re Onions - I think he will go and should go but he rarely gets the opportunities he deserves

    Re Rankin - I think he'll go. They'll prob choose 2 from him, Finn and Tremlett and to my mind it would be a travesty if the latter goes

    Re Monty - They could just choose Swann and have Kerrigan in the Lions squad to call upon if Swann gets injured. Monty works well in tandem with Swann but was very ineefective in NZ and besides his hosing off field he's not done well on it this season. Those who say Monty must go because Kerrigan isn't up to it must also look at Monty's 2013.

  • POSTED BY The_Millinator on | September 21, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    @SirViv1973 I totally agree with you about Onions, but the selectors might see him as a good option if Bresnan isn't fit and available, rather than having only tall fast bowlers (and Anderson) at their disposal. If Bresnan is fit, then Onions' place in the squad is definitely at risk. Personally I am a fan of Tremlett, but it would definitely be tough to accommodate him, Finn and Rankin in the same squad. I would opt for Rankin because I think he's probably a better bet for the future. I would be torn between bringing Finn or Tremlett, but I'd say the selectors will pick Finn no matter who else goes on the plane.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | September 21, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    I do think a second spinner is required and would welcome the rehabilitation of Panesar, however, I completely agree with not playing two spinners in tandem in Australia, where Root and/or Pietersen can provide Swann with support if required. Pietersen should be used more often; people forget his turn did for Clarke the last time England were in Australia.

    The heat and the fact that two of England's main bowlers are well over thirty means that a five man attack is required. I would like to see Cook, Root, Trott, Pietersen and Bell as the five specialist batsmen, with Prior at No 6 and Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson and Rankin as the five bowlers.

    I would only take Onions, Finn, Compton, Bairstow, Stokes and Panesar as cover. Finn, Compton, Bairstow, Stokes and Panesar would only play if Rankin, Root, Prior, Bresnan or Swann (respectively) were unfit. Rankin needs some coaching to play straighter and 8-11 encouraged not to throw their wickets away whilst supporting one the top 6.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | September 21, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    I predicted England will win easily before the Ashes. Though the matches were close England won 3-0. Here's my prediction for next Ashes, England will not win the series though they might retain it. Either an Aussie win or a series draw. Australia might be very weak in batting but they have many decent to good bowlers. I think they will figure out a way how to at least draw the next series.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Maybe on a future Ashes tour, we might have a top three bowling attack comprising Stokes, Woakes and Foakes. Shame there isn't a Vokes waiting in the wings to be the no 1 spinner.

  • POSTED BY SyedAreYouDumb on | September 21, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    Rankin, I think is only going to improve. I was skeptical of him but in the ODI'S he has improved however he might not be as useful in subcontinent conditions... He is benefitting from the extra pace bowling coaching from England. Also I would love to see Moeen Ali go to Australia since he is starting to play well consistently in county cricket. Also Panesar should be included as the 2nd spinner since unfortunately he is the only option England have other than Swann.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | September 21, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    I think Rankin won't only go to OZ, I think he'll start the first test: Broad, Swann, Rankin and Anderson is my bet for the attack come the first test.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | September 21, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Rankin can be as much dangerous as anderson.

  • POSTED BY voma on | September 21, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Even tho the 3-0 scoreline flattered England , its going to be a lot closer in Australia . Anderson , Broad , Finn and hopefully a fit Bresnan should be enough to secure another victory .Its good that Byod Rankin is going , he looked good in the ODIs . Give him a go ! . When you have a world class spinner , its always going to be difficult to find a replacemant . Australia have found that out

  • POSTED BY android_user on | September 21, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    I hope Kerrigan goes as second spinner. he worked hard to get selected dropping him on the basis of 8 overs is silly. the rest is mostly straight forward, while a few 50 50 selections left. looks decent team to me that will be vey competitive

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Big Boydo looks the goods for sure, but will he be able to send down high quality stuff spell after spell in what is sure to be a very demanding series? Lots of talk of juicy wickets but I don't see it happening myself, so England are going to need 3 guys who can get through the overs, as give no freebies England do not even like turning to their part-timers if its avoidable.

    The reserve spinner is probably looming as the hardest choice, no-one will have been convinced by Kerrigan's debut and that came on home soil as the second spinner, if he's called up in a packed out SCG or MCG as the lone spinner what will happen? It could get ugly.

    I think the rest of the options, if not straight forward, sit pretty comfortably with English fans and selectors alike, particularly with the options they'll have available from the Lions squad. Blokes like Compton, Taylor, Ballance, Onions, Rankin etc are by no means failed cricketers, England are going to be hard to beat.

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | September 21, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    My 17 for the Ashes will be: Cook, Root, Compton(third opener), Trott, KP, Bell, Ben Stokes, Prior, Butler(reserve Keeper), Swann, Panesar, Anderson, Onions, Broad, Bresnan(if fit), Finn, Rankin.

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | September 21, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    @millinator, I agree re stokes, he has immense potential but at this stage of his career he would not be my idea of a test match no6. I hope they go with either Taylor or ballance as an option to bairstow. I'm also not convinced compton will make the trip given that they are sure to continue with cook/root. His inclusion would therefore be merely injury cover which would be pointless given that the performance squad will be there at the same time. Re the bowlers rankin certainly merits selection I'm not convinced onions should go.for the same reasons as compton. If they do take him then I don't think Finn's selection is clear cut. Although tremlett's figures have not been overly impressive since he came back the selectors were happy to include him in 3 squads this summer at the expense of rankin I might add

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | September 21, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    That is a very strong squad. Id like to see Compton return as opener. He's played alot of cricket on aussie style pitches in SA & he could really grind the aussies down. Joe Root is a future prospect as opener, but id return him to 6 & let him feast once more on the smorgasbord of runs that will be offered up. I open for my club & on the rare occasion i bat 5 or 6, i almost always hit at least a fifty. Also having an potential opener at 6 helps prevent collapses at the back end of the innings.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | September 21, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    I don't think there will be any question about Finn going; he had a bad test, but bowled well in the ODIs and is England's quickest bowler. The issue is whether Bresnan's fit enough to be risked. If he is, then maybe Onions misses out. He's bowled very well for Durham, but doesn't seem as well suited to Aussie heat and doesn't bat.

    If what we're hearing about Aus pitches is right, Eng might not even bother including a second spinner. Root can provide a few overs and otherwise go with all seamers, especially if Bresnan's fit. I wouldn't take Stokes myself, but he does have the pace to bowl in Aus. His batting needs work, though- he only averaged 28 this season, which is OK for a #8, but not a #6.

    I don't see why Eng would give up on Bairstow; he batted pretty well in the context of a low-scoring test series and is a decent keeper if needed. The only place really up for grabs is the reserve batsman. England should take the best batsman and that would be Ballance.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | September 21, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    another finn in the making. he is no where near young quicks emerging from australia and india, overrated due to his height like tremlett. where is he now? nowhere to be seen. he needs to prove himself on flat tracks of subcontinent before being hailed as NEXT MACGRATH. EVEN praveen kumar looked decent bowler on swinging wickets of england. flat tracks are bench mark of fast bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Ballance, Compton and buttler should be in the squad, as well as Rankin and Finn, buttler even though supposedly shorter format player is seriously strong and talented and can only get better, especially in a strong existing English side.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    To me its quite simple: if Monty is fit, take him, if not take Kerrigan. Take Onions, Finn and Rankin, and if you want another opener take one of Carberry or James Vince, who no one seems to talk about, but has averaged 50 in championship cricket, 40 in YB40 cricket and over 30 in 20/20 cricket this year. Yes he's uncapped but then what's wrong with being an unknown comodity in Australia? Rankin deserves to go for sure and Woakes doesn't. Stokes is a better all round option. And reserve keeper should be one of Davis, Bairstow or Buttler. Personally I think Buttler will develop into the best keeper batsman in the long run but Davis is pretty good now and Bairstow for me is only if you're desperate. Whatever the selectors end up picking though, going down under to win is not easy and as a nation we have to get right behind England. As supporters I thought we were all a bit wet during the home series because we seemed scared that we'd loose. Can't do that. Have to be positive COME ON BOYS

  • POSTED BY The_Millinator on | September 21, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Does James Taylor not deserve at least to be in consideration for the touring party? While I agree that Ben Stokes is a promising young player I think it is unlikely that he will be the man England choose to be their reserve middle order batsman, and Taylor seems a better bet. Rankin deserves his place, and I think Panesar is definitely the best option for 2nd spinner provided he keeps his personal life under control. Bairstow should be the back-up keeper, but they should someone like Davies or Kieswetter with the performance squad in case of an injury to Prior. Bairstow is an adequate stand-in, but if Prior was ruled out for much of the tour, England would need to call on more of a specialist keeper.

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | September 21, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    James Taylor's test career seems to be over. The fact that he's not even in the conversation tells you how much his star has fallen.

  • POSTED BY siddhartha87 on | September 21, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Where is Garry Ballance! He should be picked up at least as a reserve batsman

  • POSTED BY kartcric on | September 21, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Very nice article!.The squad looks very dangerous and it might not take much time for them to have Australia on the mat.With an in-form English side and with Australia expected to be at their best in their backyard,this series could put up an engrossing battle before us.Best of luck to both sides!

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | September 21, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Think my squad would look something like:

    Cook, Root, Trott, KP, Bell, Taylor, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Rankin, Davies, Finn, Onions, Panesar/Kerrigan, Stokes, Compton.

    I wouldn't mind an extra seamer from somewhere though, maybe in place of Stokes or Compton. I wouldn't take Bresnan, at least not for the first half of the tour - he was rushed back from injury before and was nowhere near the bowler he was beforehand, so I would have him with the EPP gaining match fitness with a view to adding him to the squad for maybe the last two Tests. Don't really have any confidence in Bairstow with either bat or gloves & whilst I think Buttler is the long term replacement for Prior, he needs to gain consistency in red ball cricket first. Toss-up between Davies & Kieswetter; think both are fine potential Test players, Kiesy less likely to throw his wicket away but Davies is the better keeper. Would like some faith to be shown in Kerrigan, but wouldn't mind seeing Panesar there either.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Hoping for Ben Stokes to get an opportunity with the squad. Bairstow has got a decent run in the test side and he has been rather inconsistent in that number 6 position. Stokes should provide the side additional depth in the bowling department, and could evolve into a handy number 6 batsman.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | September 21, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Pretty much same squad I envisioned, but mine only had 16 men. Onions has totally fallen out of favour with England and looks highly unlikely to ever play again, so the other 16 make my squad. As for the final XI, 9 of them are pretty much certs, the 10th (third seamer) will be between Bres and Finn, possibly Rankin too but he will likely be carrying drinks for a few years. The eleventh player decides the balance of the team, and could be Compton, Bairstow, Stokes or even a 4th bowler.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | September 21, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Pretty much same squad I envisioned, but mine only had 16 men. Onions has totally fallen out of favour with England and looks highly unlikely to ever play again, so the other 16 make my squad. As for the final XI, 9 of them are pretty much certs, the 10th (third seamer) will be between Bres and Finn, possibly Rankin too but he will likely be carrying drinks for a few years. The eleventh player decides the balance of the team, and could be Compton, Bairstow, Stokes or even a 4th bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Hoping for Ben Stokes to get an opportunity with the squad. Bairstow has got a decent run in the test side and he has been rather inconsistent in that number 6 position. Stokes should provide the side additional depth in the bowling department, and could evolve into a handy number 6 batsman.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | September 21, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Think my squad would look something like:

    Cook, Root, Trott, KP, Bell, Taylor, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Rankin, Davies, Finn, Onions, Panesar/Kerrigan, Stokes, Compton.

    I wouldn't mind an extra seamer from somewhere though, maybe in place of Stokes or Compton. I wouldn't take Bresnan, at least not for the first half of the tour - he was rushed back from injury before and was nowhere near the bowler he was beforehand, so I would have him with the EPP gaining match fitness with a view to adding him to the squad for maybe the last two Tests. Don't really have any confidence in Bairstow with either bat or gloves & whilst I think Buttler is the long term replacement for Prior, he needs to gain consistency in red ball cricket first. Toss-up between Davies & Kieswetter; think both are fine potential Test players, Kiesy less likely to throw his wicket away but Davies is the better keeper. Would like some faith to be shown in Kerrigan, but wouldn't mind seeing Panesar there either.

  • POSTED BY kartcric on | September 21, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Very nice article!.The squad looks very dangerous and it might not take much time for them to have Australia on the mat.With an in-form English side and with Australia expected to be at their best in their backyard,this series could put up an engrossing battle before us.Best of luck to both sides!

  • POSTED BY siddhartha87 on | September 21, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Where is Garry Ballance! He should be picked up at least as a reserve batsman

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | September 21, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    James Taylor's test career seems to be over. The fact that he's not even in the conversation tells you how much his star has fallen.

  • POSTED BY The_Millinator on | September 21, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Does James Taylor not deserve at least to be in consideration for the touring party? While I agree that Ben Stokes is a promising young player I think it is unlikely that he will be the man England choose to be their reserve middle order batsman, and Taylor seems a better bet. Rankin deserves his place, and I think Panesar is definitely the best option for 2nd spinner provided he keeps his personal life under control. Bairstow should be the back-up keeper, but they should someone like Davies or Kieswetter with the performance squad in case of an injury to Prior. Bairstow is an adequate stand-in, but if Prior was ruled out for much of the tour, England would need to call on more of a specialist keeper.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    To me its quite simple: if Monty is fit, take him, if not take Kerrigan. Take Onions, Finn and Rankin, and if you want another opener take one of Carberry or James Vince, who no one seems to talk about, but has averaged 50 in championship cricket, 40 in YB40 cricket and over 30 in 20/20 cricket this year. Yes he's uncapped but then what's wrong with being an unknown comodity in Australia? Rankin deserves to go for sure and Woakes doesn't. Stokes is a better all round option. And reserve keeper should be one of Davis, Bairstow or Buttler. Personally I think Buttler will develop into the best keeper batsman in the long run but Davis is pretty good now and Bairstow for me is only if you're desperate. Whatever the selectors end up picking though, going down under to win is not easy and as a nation we have to get right behind England. As supporters I thought we were all a bit wet during the home series because we seemed scared that we'd loose. Can't do that. Have to be positive COME ON BOYS

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Ballance, Compton and buttler should be in the squad, as well as Rankin and Finn, buttler even though supposedly shorter format player is seriously strong and talented and can only get better, especially in a strong existing English side.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | September 21, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    another finn in the making. he is no where near young quicks emerging from australia and india, overrated due to his height like tremlett. where is he now? nowhere to be seen. he needs to prove himself on flat tracks of subcontinent before being hailed as NEXT MACGRATH. EVEN praveen kumar looked decent bowler on swinging wickets of england. flat tracks are bench mark of fast bowlers.