Former England captain Nasser Hussain pointed out two players that England team management didn’t include for the Ashes against Australia.
Lancashire pacer Saqib Mahmood and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson played a vital role for England in the three-match ODI series against a formidable batting line-up of Pakistan. The duo shared 14 wickets between them with Mahmood leading the series with nine wickets.
England have picked a very predictable Ashes squad: Nasser Hussain
On Sunday, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) named a 17-member squad led by Joe Root for the Ashes tour in the December-January window. Hussain said it was a very predictable squad and said that the Lancashire duo was overlooked.
“England have picked a very predictable Ashes squad, avoiding selecting any uncapped players and refusing to take any kind of risk. The two surprises for me were overlooking Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson,” Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
“Saqib would have given a different element to the attack in Australian conditions with his skiddy reverse swing, in the absence of the pace of Jofra Archer and Olly Stone,” he further added.
Absence of Ben Stokes in Ashes is the biggest concern: Nasser Hussain
England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes won’t be part of the touting team as he continues to take an indefinite break from the game. Hussain is concerned about how England will balance the team in the absence of their great all-rounder.
“The absence of Stokes is the biggest concern. It gives England a massive selection headache. Without him, it will be a nightmare trying to balance the side and I envisage England going into matches with an all-seam attack backed up by Root’s off-spin,” Hussain wrote.
“Without someone of Stokes’s all-round calibre, you are either sacrificing a batsman and creating a long tail, or muddling through with a four-man attack including a frontline spinner. With the Kookaburra ball, that is a daunting prospect.
“The ball goes soft after 10-12 overs and does nothing after that, which is why Saqib would have provided variation,” he mentioned further.
England skipper Joe Root had an astounding Test series against India, which is yet to be completed, as he topped the run-scoring charts with 564 runs from seven innings at an average of 94.00.
Barring Root, Jonny Bairstow (184) and Rory Burns (183) were the other batters that meagrely contributed to England’s scoreboard. Hussain warned England batters that they should not lack in runs in Australia else they will end up losing games.
“You also need to score massive runs. In England, if you get 300 in the first innings, you are probably in the game. Get that score in Australia and you’re going to lose,” Hussain noted.
“It means the batting line-up has to churn out big runs and not leave the scoring to Root. The England captain will want to contribute as a batter, of course, and is yet to score a Test hundred in Australia,” he added.
The first Ashes Test will start on December 8 at the Gabba in Brisbane.