England have announced their team he look to become the first England Team to retain the ashes in australia since Mike Gatting Victoirous team in 1987. Find below details on the England Lions who will go downunder in search of glory.
Andrew Strauss (captain, Middlesex, Age 33, 77 Test matches):
Andrew Strauss may have struggled to get going at the start of the season, but once he did, there was no looking back. He ensured that the English side won in all the three formats against Pakistan and returned to form with such a bang that he was also the man of the series in his usually bogey-format, the odis.
Alastair Cook (vice-captain, Essex, Age 25, 60 Test matches)
Alastair Cook will open the English innings with Strauss. He was not in the best of touches but after a good session or two with his mentor from Essex, Graham Gooch, the technique improved drastically enough for him to score a century in the Tests against Pakistan. How he begins will go a long way in deciding the series result in the Ashes.
James Anderson (Lancashire, Age 28, 52 Test matches)
Anderson’s ability to swing the ball was never a question. However, over the years, he has ensured that his lines and lengths do not go awry and that has metamorphosed him from being a swing bowler to a match-winning swing bowler for England. While Australia is not too conducive for swing bowlers, his experience will come in handy for the side.
Ian Bell (Warwickshire, Age 28, 57 Test matches)
Ian Bell has been often termed as one of those batsmen who have promised much but never really delivered. However, a century against South Africa brought him back into reckoning and he was very much a part of the side through the summer till a foot fracture ruled him out of the Pakistan Tests. He is now back into the side, but it remains to be seen how he handles his not-so-favourite opponents in Australia.
Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire, Age 25, 5 Test matches)
Many fans say that Tim Bresnan was lucky to be selected in the Test match squad for the series, ahead of his Yorkshire team-mate, Ajmal Shahzad. However, now that Bresnan is a part of the side, he will first look to extend his five Test match caps and extract the bounce that the Australian pitches are so famous for.
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire; Age 24, 32 Test matches)
Son of a famous ex-English cricketer and current match referee, Stuart Broad is quickly turning into an excellent bowler who can hold the bat quite usefully down the order. Known to rely on seam movements and bounce, Broad has done enough in the last couple of years to merit him an opening bowler’s place in the English side. Broad should hold one of the most vital keys in England’s line-up given his wicket-taking abilities.
Paul Collingwood (Durham, Age 34, 63 Test matches)
Paul Collingwood may not be in the greatest of forms, but he is a quality batsman in the middle-order who can grit his way out of trouble. The Cardiff Test match of the previous Ashes was saved thanks to his stubborn resistance, but that is not the only way he can bat – as a strike-rate of 77 in odis shows. He can bowl his medium pace on sticky wickets with good results, and as a senior member of the side will contribute to the think-tank of the side.
Steven Davies (Surrey, Age 24, Yet to make debut)
Steven Davies first played an international in the Champions Trophy last year, but was dropped subsequently as Craig Kieswetter found favour. However, he was selected for the odis against Pakistan yet again, and played as a pure wicket-keeper in the same T20 playing XI as Kieswetter to strengthen his claims. He will back Matt Prior up in case of injuries or drastic loss of form.
Steven Finn (Middlesex; Age 21, 8 Test matches)
At six feet seven, Steven Finn is one of the tallest cricketers around and clearly one of the finds of the year across the cricketing world. While he may have played most of his initial games against Bangladesh, he did scalp 13 wickets against Pakistan as well at a very healthy average of 23. Finn may sneak in as the third pace bowler in the playing eleven after Ryan Sidebottom announced his retirement from the side.
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex; Age 24, 6 Test matches)
Eoin Morgan’s journey from being an Irish cricketer to playing English county cricket and then becoming a specialist T20 cricketer, ODI player and soon grabbing his opportunity as a Test batsman is nothing short of amazing. Morgan may not be the first choice batsman in the playing eleven given that Ian Bell is fit again but his ability to perform rear-guard actions on an almost-regular basis will hold him in good stead.
Monty Panesar (Sussex, Age 28, 39 Test matches)
Monty Panesar’s re-entry into the English side as the second spinner to assist Graeme Swann in the squad was a tad surprising, but given the other options it does make sense for the selectors to go in with some experience. Panesar had been tipped to be the great hope of English cricket, but his inability to give the ball some air seemed to have gone against him and he lost his place in the side. He may get his opportunity at Sydney.
Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire, Age 30, 66 Test matches)
Kevin Pietersen was one of the Englishmen who lost his form in the Test matches this summer. This was surprising given that he was the man of the series in the World T20 immediately preceding the Pakistan Tests. He was afforded a break from the odis against Pakistan – something that did not go down too well with him – but some first class cricket before the start of the Ashes should do this champion batsman a world of good.
Matt Prior (Sussex, Age 28, 35 Test matches)
Matt Prior will be the first choice wicket-keeper for the English side, but will have a lot of pressure on him. For one, there is always that lurking danger of Steven Davies been afforded the job. Secondly, Prior has already been given the boot in the odis and the T20Is and it looks highly improbable that he will make a comeback there. A bad Ashes series could seal his fate.
Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire, Age 31, 24 Test matches)
It is evident that Graeme Swann will go into the Ashes with the expectation of the entire nation on him. It will probably be the first time since Shane Warne played his first Test match that an English team will land in Australia for an Ashes series with a spin attack stronger than the hosts’. Credit must be afforded to Swann for his ability to turn the ball square at good speeds with an action that in non-controversial.
Chris Tremlett (Surrey; Age 29, 3 Test matches)
Chris Tremlett is the second surprise selection of the squad. He last played in a Test more than two and a half years ago and had critics pointing fingers at his lack of mental toughness. However, a great start to his previous season and the fact that the selectors were looking at tall bowlers to hit the deck hard meant that Tremlett was through.
Jonathon Trott (Warwickshire, Age 29, 13 Test matches)
Jonathon Trott’s initiation to Test match cricket was in a pressure cooker situation. The previous Ashes series was tied at one game apiece, and Trott had replaced Ravi Bopara in the side to make his debut in the final Test match at Oval. Trott went in and slammed a century to ensure that the series would be England’s. He has played 12 more Test matches after that and in all averages 55 in Test match cricket. Trott could be the batsman occupying the number three slot.