Ashes 2023: England announces squad for first two Tests, key player ruled out
Josh Tongue retains his place in the squad.
England have announced a 16-player squad for the initial two Ashes Tests. Josh Tongue, who made a strong impression during his Test debut against Ireland, retains his place in the squad, while James Anderson and Ollie Robinson make their comeback after being absent from the Lord’s Test.
The English team possesses a formidable pace bowling unit, led by the expected return of Anderson for the opening Test, accompanied by the experienced Stuart Broad. Mark Wood, Matthew Potts, and Chris Woakes have also secured their spots in the squad, joining Tongue.
However, it is important to note that Jack Leach, originally part of the 16-player squad, has unfortunately been ruled out of the Ashes series due to injury.
Stokes’ bowling fitness uncertain
The extent of Ben Stokes’ bowling readiness remains uncertain, although head coach Brendon McCullum previously expressed optimism about Stokes’ positive advancements and the possibility of him bowling at some stage during the summer.
Bairstow to continue as wicketkeeper
After a nine-month hiatus, Jonny Bairstow made a successful comeback during the Ireland Test and will continue to fulfill the wicketkeeping duties. Zak Crawley exhibited promising signs of a return to form during the match at Lord’s, showcasing a half-century in the first innings. As a result, he maintains his position at the top of the batting order. Joining him is Ben Duckett, who delivered a remarkable inning of 182 runs against Ireland, earning him a deserving partnership with Crawley.
Dan Lawrence has also secured his place as a reserve batter, ensuring his spot in the team.
Jack Leach ruled out of Ashes with a back stress fracture
Jack Leach’s unfortunate news has been confirmed, as scans have revealed that he has sustained a lumbar stress fracture. The left-arm spinner developed “low back symptoms” during the Test triumph against Ireland at Lord’s, forcing him to be ruled out of the entire Ashes series against Australia.
Leach was initially named in the 16-man squad announced on Saturday, but now England will have to appoint a replacement player “in due course,” as stated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
England squad for first two tests
Ben Stokes (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Dan Lawrence, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Josh Tongue.
The series is scheduled to commence on June 16 in Birmingham, followed by the second Test at Lord’s starting on June 28.