Australia, in pursuit of their first Ashes win in England since 2001, have named a strong 17-member squad for the upcoming Ashes series starting from August 1 at Edgbaston. David Warner, Steven Smith, and Cameron Bancroft – all three involved in the ball-tampering scandal have returned to the squad after serving their suspension.

Smith, Warner return to Australia squad

Uncapped pacer from Queensland, Michael Neser is the surprise selection in the seven-member fast-bowling group alongside Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle as well as recalled allrounder Mitchell Marsh. Matthew Wade has also made a scintillating comeback to the national squad on the back of some outstanding form for Australia A and Tasmania. He edged out Alex Carey who had an outstanding World Cup campaign. The selector also left out Jon Holland, leaving Nathan Lyon as their sole frontline spinner, and the option of Marnus Labuschagne’s wrist-spin.

David Warner, Steven Smith
David Warner and Steven Smith. Image Courtesy: Getty

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Australia have also included the injury-prone Usman Khawaja who continues to recover from the injury he suffered during the ICC World Cup 2019. The southpaw returns with opener Marcus Harris, middle-order batsman Travis Head and Labuschagne, while Joe Burns and Kurtis Patterson, who each made centuries in Canberra against Sri Lanka, are unlucky to miss selection.

National selector Trevor Hohns admitted that it was difficult to pick the squad for a pool of 25 talented cricketers. He also said that they had had beautiful preparations for the Ashes with many of them playing in England for over a month now. Australia will be desperate to end their barren run in England and spoil the host’s double win after the World Cup victory.

Matthew Wade. Credit: Getty

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“It has been a difficult task to reduce the 25-player squad here in Southampton down to 17 and those who have not made the final Ashes party are all desperately unlucky,” said national selector Trevor Hohns.

Australia squad for the Ashes 2019:

Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.