The Investec Ashes 2015 August 9, 2015

Anderson returns to squad for fifth Test

James Anderson will be considered for the Oval Test © Getty Images

James Anderson has been included in a 14-man England squad for the final Investec Ashes Test at the Kia Oval but will not be risked unless he has completely recovered from the side injury which ruled him out of the Trent Bridge encounter.

Anderson replaces Mark Footitt, the Derbyshire left-arm quick, in the squad while Liam Plunkett is retained among the pace options.

Adam Lyth is also set to be given another chance at the top order despite a lean series in which he has scored just 86 runs at 12.28. There had been a suggestion that Alex Hales, the Nottinghamshire batsman who opens for England in limited-overs cricket, would be a replacement but the selectors have resisted change.

James Whitaker, the national selector, said: "James Anderson is continuing to improve and with ten days to go before the Test may be able to play a part at the Oval although with the series won we will not be taking any chances given the cricket we have in the coming months.

"Regaining the Ashes is a superb achievement and is down to 18 months of hard work from the players and coaches and support from a lot of people since the last series in Australia. The contributions of so many different players at key times throughout the series so far is hugely encouraging."

England's caution with Anderson is wise given there is no let-up in their schedule once the Ashes are finished. Although he is unlikely to play one-day cricket again, England have a three-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE which starts in mid-October then face South Africa in a four-match contest starting on Boxing Day.

One potentially interesting scenario facing the England selectors for the final Test against Australia is whether to use the chance to give Adil Rashid - who has been in every squad for the series - a Test debut with a view to assessing him before the tour to UAE where spin will be a key component.

It would be a tough decision over which pace bowler to leave out should they want to make use of Ben Stokes as an allrounder and play three quicks and two spinners, although one other route that could be explored would be to promote another batsman - probably Moeen Ali - to open alongside Cook in place of the struggling Lyth.

England have been criticised for not giving Rashid a chance in West Indies earlier this year, but that became difficult after he had struggled badly in the warm-up fixtures. He has taken 25 first-class wickets for Yorkshire this season in six matches, and struck a century in the current Championship match against Durham.

However, two years ago, England threw a debutant spinner in for the final Test against Australia but it was a chastening experience for Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan who bowled just eight overs in the first innings and was plundered for 53 runs. He has not played for England again since, although was briefly around the squad last summer.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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