England‘s 2019 Ashes hero Ben Stokes won’t be travelling with the side to Australia for the high-voltage Ashes 2021/22, and neither will be speedster Jofra Archer as the ECB announced a 17-player squad on Sunday.
Joe Root will lead the side, Jos Buttler has been named as the vice-captain, in the 5-Test series starting December 8 in Brisbane. All 17 players have been capped at Test level and “is the strongest available squad”. 10 of the 17 will be touring Australia in an Ashes series for the first time.
Ben Stokes, who has been on an indefinite break from cricket to manage his mental well-being, had undergone a second finger operation recently. He had sustained this finger injury in April during the IPL. Ben Stokes had also missed the 2017 tour to Australia due to his Bristol brawl incident.
England will be without Archer as well, who has been ruled out for the entire year because of his elbow injury. Sam Curran is another absentee – he has been ruled out with a back injury sustained during the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
With an injury to Olly Stone also, Mark Wood is the only genuine fast bowler for England. Stuart Broad, who tore a calf after the first Test against India, has also been included subject to proving his fitness before departure.
After Moeen Ali’s retirement, Jack Leach has become England’s premier spinner with Dom Bess as the second-choice spinner. Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence, both of whom were dropped during the India series, also return to the squad.
The first Ashes Test is slated for Brisbane from December 8. Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth are slotted to host the next four Tests, however, that is subject to change.
“A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer. I am delighted that all of our available players have committed to the tour. We are looking forward to touring and enjoying the experience of this historic series,” head coach Chris Silverwood said.
A Lions squad will be named next week which will also tour with the full squad to provide replacements in case of injury or illness as well as providing warm-up matches opposition. There will be a three-day and four-day practice game before the first Test.
England’s Test specialists and the Lions squad are set to depart on Thursday 4 November. Players selected who are part of the T20 World Cup in the UAE will join the tour after their tournament commitments.
Australia are the current holder of the Ashes. Tim Paine’s men retained the urn in 2019 when they drew 2-2 in England.
England squad for the Ashes:
Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.