James Anderson will miss the first Ashes Test in Brisbane but England insisted that it is not injury related and is part of the management plan to have him primed for the day-night Test in Adelaide next week.
It was always unlikely that Anderson, the third-highest Test wicket-taker, would play all five Tests in a tight schedule and he himself has previously said three of the matches might be realistic.
Anderson missed the majority of the 2019 Ashes with a calf injury he sustained in the opening Test at Edgbaston which left England a bowler short in a match they went onto lose and there were questions raised as to whether he would be able to return.
But since then he has taken 57 wickets in 17 Tests and played in all of the matches against New Zealand and India in the last home summer.
Anderson does not have a good record at the Gabba with seven wickets at 75.14 from four matches. In Adelaide he has taken 16 wickets at 29.50.
"He bowled at full capacity yesterday for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically. He will do the same again today at practice. He will stay with the Test group this week and work with the coaches at the Gabba rather than playing for the Lions"ECB statement
"Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury," an ECB statement said. "With five Tests in six weeks the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide.
"With the limited build-up we have had so far on the tour, both him and the management didn't want to take the risk of him playing after what had happened in 2019 at Edgbaston, when he broke down on the first morning.
"He bowled at full capacity yesterday for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically. He will do the same again today at practice.
"He will stay with the Test group this week and work with the coaches at the Gabba rather than playing for the Lions."
There remains a chance that England will go into the opening Test without Anderson and Stuart Broad with the latter having missed a large part of the home season with a calf injury. The disrupted preparations caused by poor weather in Queensland have hampered the fast bowlers' lead-in.
"Just with the build-up everyone has had, the guys just want to make sure everyone is perfect to go," Jos Buttler said. "Jimmy's not going to play but he is fit. Obviously it's a very long series and we want a guy like that to be available for as much of it as possible, so think it's a bit precautionary. He bowled well yesterday and will bowl again today."
Broad's participation could rest on whether England play a specialist spinner in Jack Leach. With Ben Stokes back it gives them the chance to field a balanced attack although there remains some uncertainty about the amount Stokes will be able to bowl having not played competitively since July.
"We always know that when he gets into that game he'll want to leave his mark on it," captain Joe Root said of Stokes. "Yes, there'll be an element of managing expectations and you've got to trust his experience and our whole bowling group collectively that we can work together to take those wickets. I'm sure Ben will have a big say in that. It's something we'll definitely be trying to get right throughout the whole series."
Of the potential quicks, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood have yet to play Test cricket in Australia while Chris Woakes averages 49.50 from four matches but Buttler was bullish in the capacity to take 20 wickets.
"We are confident, that's why the guys are here," he said. "There's some fantastic performers. Obviously Broad and Anderson have been brilliant performers for a long period of time and will play a huge part in the series. Whichever XI we take the field with we'll be very confident."
England's 12 for the Gabba Test: Joe Root (capt), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Haseeb Hameed, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood