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Who gets on the plane to Australia?

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Oliver Brett | 07:57 UK time, Saturday, 4 September 2010

With the cricket world gripped by the potentially hugely damaging Pakistan spot-fixing allegations, Ashes fever has been thoroughly dampened down.

However, it is not too long before England's selectors gather to select 16 names to take to Australia this winter, and to prompt some debate I asked Test Match Special pundits Jonathan Agnew, Alec Stewart and Phil Tufnell to name their squads.

Here are their thoughts, and, for what it's worth, I have added my own suggestions as well.

Alec Stewart

Jonathan Agnew

Jonathan Agnew and Alec Stewart have found common ground. They both select the XI at Lord's - Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, with the same five additions - Ian Bell, Steven Davies, Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad and Monty Panesar.

Aggers explains his thoughts: "Bell, almost ready to return from a two-month injury break, is the obvious addition as realistic competition for the 11 that played in the final Test against Pakistan.

"I imagine that, even at this stage, he is likely to replace Morgan in the starting XI for the first Test at Brisbane on 25 November.

"I see Bresnan as offering solid support to the first-choice pace bowlers who have impressed against Pakistan and I would take Yorkshire's Shahzad for the experience.

"Similarly, Panesar would be my preference as back-up for Swann. I should add that it is difficult to see England playing two spinners in a four-man attack - a strategy they appear to have settled on - anywhere on the tour.

"Finally, wicketkeeper Davies has been receiving rave reviews from Surrey, for whom he is averaging over 50 in first-class cricket."

Phil Tufnell

Phil Tufnell makes two changes from the Agnew/Stewart selection, with a different back-up wicketkeeper (Craig Kieswetter) plus a specialist reserve opening batsman (Michael Carberry) instead of Shahzad, the second spare seamer.

He told me: "I would take Kieswetter ahead of Davies. Kieswetter is an ICC World Twenty20 winner, so he's got that experience behind him, and there's a little bit of strut to what he does.

"I want a specialist opener in case Cook or Strauss gets injured. There are a few candidates around - Jimmy Adams at Hampshire is one of them - but I'm thinking of a safer choice in Carberry, who has been playing for the Lions regularly and he already has a Test cap behind him.

"You do need people who have been around the block a little bit, an Ashes tour is not really a moment to pluck people out of obscurity.

"The 11 who won the series against Pakistan go through straight away, without question, and you have to add Bell in there to create some competition for middle-order places.

"In the seam-bowling, Bresnan is very much the next cab off the rank and he can double up as an all-rounder if we need someone to bat at seven or eight.

"We will obviously need a spinner and for me Panesar gets in ahead of James Tredwell and Adil Rashid. We might need someone to hold up an end, and if Monty's getting wickets at least he can be put on at one end while we rotate the seam bowlers at the other end."

Oliver Brett

My own selection also has two changes to the Agnew/Stewart model, with Rashid the back-up spinner ahead of Panesar, and Ryan Sidebottom winning selection ahead of Bresnan.

For me, Bell is the easiest choice out of the five players I am adding. He hit a vital 72 in the Ashes decider at The Oval last year, and has scored three Test centuries since then, only to miss the Pakistan series with a freak injury.

Davies has had a strong first season in a transitional Surrey side and deserves to take the reserve wicket-keeping berth ahead of Kieswetter, whose unorthodox batting is not yet suited to the Test arena.

Yorkshire's leg-spinner Rashid, who has consistently scored high marks in the PCA rankings this season, is a player whose cause I am keen to champion. I am desperate for a wrist-spinner to make a real breakthrough for England and this kid can bat too.

Now to the back-up seamers: Shahzad looks like a determined individual with some good skills and is a little faster than some people think. As someone who enjoys trying to get an old ball to reverse swing, he could do well. Sidebottom's experience will also serve this squad well, and his left-arm angle adds some variety.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Morgan
    Bell
    Prior
    Davies
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn
    Bresnan
    Panesar
    Tremlett

    That would be my 16

  • Comment number 2.

    Morning,

    This is a strange one as England have a settled squad and there are only a couple of back-up places up for grabs and lets be honest that is all they are likely to be.

    In my humble opinion Trott is the reserve opener and injuries are more likely on the bowling front so decent cover in that dept is essential; the choice between; Bresnan, Sidebottom and Shahzad is a close run thing but I think Sidebottom has lost confidence and zip. On the spin front either Monty as experience. or Rashid for experience. Still not sure what Flower and Strauss favour?

    The most interesting thing will be how both test teams sort out their issues in the coming months. England need to get their batsmen into form and Australia need to establish their favoured bowling attack. A scenario where KP fails to find his mojo although unlikely would leave England needing to take an untried batsman along with Bell.

    There is alot to look forward too. Let the games begin!

  • Comment number 3.

    I wonder what Ravi Bopara has to do to get back in contention.

    I would have him in ahead of any of KP, Collywobble and Morgan... however you can't see any of them being dropped.

    I agree that Morgan is probably mentally stronger than Ravi and the other two have the experience.

    To stand any chance we need our middle order to play a hell of a lot better than they have done recently.

    My squad would be:

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    KP
    Bell
    Bopara
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Anderson
    Finn

    Plus:
    Carberry
    Collingwood
    Davies
    Rashid
    Sidebottom

    But I fully expect Morgan to go rather than Ravi.

  • Comment number 4.

    So that's it then? Cook is going to be allowed to come along for the ride? He's a great talent, but his form is terrible! Let him re-find it elsewhere, the England team is no place to do this. If this was a losing team, he would not be in any longer

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with you Oliver; and completely disagree with Aggers/Alec Stewart! Taking Bresnan would be bad enough, a solid county player who is never going to be up to the standards of Test Cricket, especially against such a tough team as the Aussies. He's an OK one day player for England, but should be nowhere near the Test squad, let alone the team. Then there's Panesar, who again, at the moment, should not be being considered for this tour. He's simply not a good enough cricketer I'm afraid. Rashid has been badly treated and needs his chance to develop as England's premier leggy. In terms of the other seamers spot, instead of Bresnan, surely the selctors should be looking at young players from round the countys, who could emulate Finn - someone like Woakes, who's already playing for the Lions.
    Otherwise pretty solid selections . Oh, and I'd drop Pietersen for Bell!

  • Comment number 6.

    "I wonder what Ravi Bopara has to do to get back in contention."

    Shouldn't have completely lost it against Australia last year. Or perhaps not been a let-down for the vast majority of his 51 ODI appearances.

    I'd take the same squad as Aggers:
    Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Bell, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn with Morgan, Davies, Bresnan, Shahzad and Panesar in reserve. If we take 17, add Carberry.

    I've gone for Panesar because we won't play two spinners and I don't think Rashid is ready to be a sole-spinner whilst Tredwell isn't international standard. Panesar has been international standard in the past, and has had a very good season for Sussex and is right up at the top of leading wicket takers in county cricket.

    Looking past the squad, the Performance Squad will be out in Australia.

    My team: Carberry, Lyth, Bopara, Gale, Taylor, Kieswetter, Rashid, Woakes, Harris, Plunkett, Tremlett. With Hildreth, Tredwell, Mahmood and Wright in reserve. Or possibly Buttler instead of Wright.

  • Comment number 7.

    I understand why Trott would be regarded by some as a cover opening batsman, but I think there would be too much disruption to the batting order for that to be the right way forward. I think the Lions are in Australia this winter so take Carberry in that squad and call him in if you need to.

    Other than that, I'd take Bopara over Bell as the reserve batsman, Davies as the second keeper, Shahzad as the back-up quick and Rashid as second spinner.

  • Comment number 8.

    Can I ask 1 question??? Where are the England Lions playing this winter??? IF Australia why don't England pick a squad of 13 then just before a match call up a few other guys in case of injury etc? the other guys if needed will be playing and hopefully in form rather than sitting on the sidelines playing no cricket.
    If the Lions aren't playing then send 4 or 5 others playing cricket of some kind in Australia and call them all before a match. Surely this must be a better way of modern cricket rather having guys sitting around.

    To make up the numbers for practice or Subs. There must be cricketers who are too old for under 19 but as yet wont get on the Lions but are promising. This could be a way to get them some experience???

    My 13

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Bell
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Anderson
    Finn
    Morgan
    Bresnan

    4 others for Lions or in Australia

    Carberry
    Davies (wk)
    Rashid
    Shahzad

  • Comment number 9.

    Comment No6

    Didn't see your post but was writing mine at the time. But this surely would be better to take 13 man ashes squad and take guys in reserve from the performance squad if and when we need to?

  • Comment number 10.

    Colly out for me, yes he's a wise head but he has to be getting runs you cant just be in the side because your the greatest fielder around!

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    KP
    Bell
    Morgan
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Andersen
    Finn

    Can somebody please explain the reason that colly is in!? and no 'in trickie situations he's a SOMETIMES a safe pare of hands'!

  • Comment number 11.

  • Comment number 12.

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Morgan
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn

    ---------------------

    Bell
    Carberry
    Read
    Shahzad
    Hoggard

  • Comment number 13.

    I think Aggers and Stewart have got the team spot on. With the Lions touring Oz at the same time there is always the option of bringing someone else in if there is an injury, much like Finn earlier this year.

    Rashid will be better off playing for the Lions rather than carrying the drinks, plus Monty has experience of playing Ashes tests in Australia and did pick up a 'Michelle' in the Perth test and has the mental strength as shown at Cardiff. Swann has shown spinners benefit from learning their craft at county level before being thrown in at the deep end, if Rashid is to be Swann's successor he needs to continue to develop his game.

  • Comment number 14.

    Wow, Oliver. You and I have selected the same list. It's a first! I suspect that the selectors will want another off-spinner though as like-for-like cover for Swann, but Rashid has been on tour before 'for the experience', so why do that if he's not to be taken now? Therefore Shahzad for me, doesn't go. The importance of a left-arm seamer is not to be understated either and that's why for me, Sidebottom should go.

  • Comment number 15.

    I agree that the selectors are unlikely to change things much. The bowlers have done well recently but Australia is likely to be harder work so experienced and in-form back-up is essential.

    As has been said the batting line-up is somewhat frail, both at the top and in the middle order (Trott and Prior aside). The controversial batting picks continue to be KP, Morgan and to some extent Colly. Come on lets see how they do with the bat down under when the ball isn't doing so much in the air...

    Obviously the batsmen need a break after Pakistan but then several competitive games before the tour while they work out the kinks and enable the next best long-form batsmen(Carberry, Bell, Davies - Bopara just isn't up to it) to play and challenge for a spot. Perhaps the Lions could play some extra games down under before the tour proper starts?

    This would also allow the next best bowlers Bresnan/Sidebottom/Shahzad/ Woakes plus Panesar/Rashid) to get some competitive work to sharpen up with the Kookaburra. It wouldn't hurt to get Colly bowling a bit too as he seems down on confidence and we need his grit, nous and fielding.

  • Comment number 16.

    9. At 10:34am on 04 Sep 2010, david bunting wrote:

    Comment No6 - Didn't see your post but was writing mine at the time. But this surely would be better to take 13 man ashes squad and take guys in reserve from the performance squad if and when we need to?

    ---

    I would imagine that non-playing members of the main squad would join up with the Performance Squad for matches.

    We always take squads of 16 on tour, it just gives us options and firmly shows who the next-in-line players are.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm with Aggers and Alec on the squad. Panesar is going to be there as cover for Swann, and it would be better for Rashid to spend the winter bowling. I do agree that Rashid is getting to the stage where he merits an opportunity (but only as a 5 man bowling attack).

    The likes of Sidebottom and Hoggard (!) are past it. We need to move on with the like of Bresnan and Shahzad - and as a Yorkshire fan I'd have Bres over Shahzad any day.

  • Comment number 18.

    Strauss,
    Carberry,
    Trott,
    KP
    Bell,
    Hildreth,
    Collingwood, (great 2nd slip catcher)
    Broad,
    Swann,
    Anderson,
    Finn.
    -------------
    Cook,
    Bresnan,
    S. Jones,
    Morgan,
    Hoggard

  • Comment number 19.

    I think the One Day Series will give us a better indication of Morgan and Collingwood's form. I think it would be hasty to drop Collingwood, who got starts against Pakistan and scored that important knock of 80, which probably puts him in the same boat as Pietersen. Anyway, my team and squad for that first test is:

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Bell
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn

    Yes our Batsmen struggled but the conditions in the Pakistan series were heavily biased towards the bowlers, so I think the team should remain the same other than Bell being drafted back into the line-up for Morgan.

    Finally I'd have Morgan, Bopara, Davies, Bresnan and Shahzad waiting in the wings.

  • Comment number 20.

    A few interesting ideas here, but most have been tried before!

    Myth1: "England need a leg spinner"
    England have shown enormous weakness against legspin ever since Abdul Qadir re-introduced it. However this was the basis for picking Salisbury. The reality is that 'England want a legspinner like Warne' - but that's a bit like saying we'll pick Chris Lewis and expect him to bowl like Marshall or Holding because he's a right arm quick! On the basis that the selectors aren't completely clueless then you have to conclude Rashid isn't good enough, otherwise he'd have played against Bangladesh this summer. His time may yet come.

    Myth2: Left=armer seamer for the sake of it. Again this has form. Ilott, Mullally, anyone? Not to mention that the aussies probably see a fair bit of left arm quick bowling. Sidebottom is completely ineffective on flat wickets, and he can't bat.

    Myth3: Bresnan is an all-rounder. He possibly could be, but only if you play five bowlers, because he's not much better than the likes of Waugh or Gooch with the ball. The idea of him bowling 20 overs in Perth is truly frightening. For what it's worth might as well send Bopara, his bowling isn't much worse and sometimes he can bat.

    So the five who should go?

    Bell, Davies, Shahzad, Panesar, Bopara.

  • Comment number 21.

    18. At 11:44am on 04 Sep 2010, falcons1988 wrote:

    Strauss,
    Carberry,
    Trott,
    KP
    Bell,
    Hildreth,
    Collingwood, (great 2nd slip catcher)
    Broad,
    Swann,
    Anderson,
    Finn.
    -------------
    Cook,
    Bresnan,
    S. Jones,
    Morgan,
    Hoggard

    -----------------------------

    16 players and no keeper? Might be a bit of an error there!

    Jones is not fit. Hoggard hasn't been good enough for years.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'd go for the same XI that's played so well in the past few months. Exception being Bell for Morgan.

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    KP
    Colly
    Bell
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Anderson
    Finn

    That is, in my opinion, England's strongest and most stable unit, I'm not sure that an Aussie Ashes series is the best place to blood test debutants.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm caught between Aggers/Stewart and Tuffnell on this one.

    Like Tufnell I believe a reserve opener is essential. Yes Trott can do the job but that leaves a gaping hole at #3 to fill instead which is no better a situation to be on. Taking Carberry as the best opening option means a straight swap if the worst does occur. He can also provide cover for #3 if Trott pulls up, likely by moving Strauss down one. Shazhad would be the one to lose out, though he will likely o off with the Lions instead and be first in line for a callup if one of the seamers went down.

    I would take Davies over Kieswetter though, more experienced and in cracking form.

  • Comment number 24.

    With the performance squad being in Oz, I think the main squad will only have 1 keeper (obviously Prior), as it will be easy to draft in a replacement.

    Unlike a batsman or bowler, if Prior gets injured the replacement is certain to play, so it would be far better that whoever it is is getting time in the middle, rather than sitting on the balcony. To that end, I would have both CK and SD in the Lions, and have them in for every match.

    As for the rest of the squad, the 7 batsmen pretty much pick themselves, which are the 6 from the Pakistan tests plus Bell.

    Not convinced about Morgan myself but the selectors seem to like him. The only likely replacement is Bopara and I am equally unconvinced about him.

    The seamers are again fairly obvious, especially with Onions definitely out of the running. Anderson, Broad, Finn, Bresnan, Shazad and Sidey. If we do take a second keeper, Shazad or Sidey to miss out.

    That just leaves the two spinners, which I think are Swann and Panesar by default.

    If both Yorks and England didn't think Rashid was ready for home v Bangladesh and Pakistan, then it is impossible to see how he could be ready (in their minds) for Oz away six months later. The only other real option is Tredwell but if we do want to play two spinners, we don't really want two offies.

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi all, my 16 for the Ashes:

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Collingwood
    Pietersen
    Morgan
    Prior
    Anderson
    Swann
    Broad
    Finn
    Kieswetter
    Panesar
    Bresnan
    Shahzad
    Bell

  • Comment number 26.

    England are going to be taking around 30 people to Australia, since the Lions are going at the same time. So the squad will have a lot of cover in case of injuries... So I'm not too bothered who they decide to put in the 15 for the full team since there will be a further 15 for the England Lions. Hopefully Rashid goes, he's batting superbly in county cricket, and bowling pretty well. Davies has to be your back up keeper, I don't trust his keeping that much but he will bat better than Kiesewetter!

  • Comment number 27.

    Batting - Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Collingwood
    with Carberry and Morgan as cover

    Wicket keeper - Prior
    No need for cover as one could be taken from the Lions squad

    Pace - Anderson, Broad, Finn
    Cover - Shazhad and Harris of Glamorgan (unfortunately no Onions)

    Spin - Swann
    Cover - Rashid

    Panesar and Bresnan no way!!!!

    Panesar is two one dimensional and has had his chance. Five wicket haul at Perth in 2006 - that was the first time they'd seen him, they've worked him out by now

    Bresnan - very good one day player but his bowling is not good enough to be a test opening bowler, nor to be a third seamer. If he could average 35 to 40 batting at seven then he could be a fourth seamer to keep things tight whilst the others rested. But I don't think he's a number 7 batsman either.

  • Comment number 28.

    My squad would be:

    Openers: Strauss(capt), Carberry

    Batsmen: Pitersen, Bell, Bopara, Collingwood, Trott, Hildreth

    Wicketkeepers: Prior, Davies,

    Bowlers: Swann, Broad, Anderson, Finn, Shahzad, Rashid

    In the Lions squad I would put Cook, Morgan and Sidebottom - this experience could then be called upon if needed. Cook needs to get some runs like KP at the mo. Rashid is one of the most talented spinners behind Swann. Hildreth has performed well all season and possibly should have replaced Moragn in 4th Test. Would like to see Bopara back in the test side. Selectors would not drop Cook, KP and Morgan even though they failed with the bat all summer against a poor test match side - Bopara was in the same situation against the best test match side in the world and was dropped. Some double standards I think.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have to take issue with Radar!

    "Collywobble"??? It seems that people forget how good Collingwood is as a fielder in fact as Dom wrote the greatest fielder in the world.

    But I would also disagree with Dom on Collingwood because he has time after time been criticised for not getting runs and then goes out and saves a game for England. None of the England batsmen has consistently gotten good scores recently and it would be I think very unwise to leave one of the most experienced players, one of the greatest fielders and a T20 World Cup winning captain out of the team. Especially when, as proven in 2007, Australia is a far different place to travel to and retain the Ashes.

    I agree with both Aggers and Stewart. Their selections seem to be balanced with experience and talent and mental stability. The only possible change would be Kieswetter but that would take a lot of thought!

  • Comment number 30.

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    KP
    Bell
    Colly
    Morgs
    Prior
    Broad
    Finn
    Jimmy
    Swann
    Shahzad
    Davies
    Briggs (or 'one-ball' Monte)
    Siders

    Cant see why nobody has mentioned Briggs - certainly will be a much better bowler than Panesar - its whether the selectors think he's too young.
    Agree with Trott being the backup opener - cant see Cook being opener beyond the 2nd test after being roughed up by the Aussies.

    Team for 3rd test...
    Strauss
    Trott
    Bell
    KP
    Colly
    Morgs
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Jimmy (or Shahzad)
    Finn

  • Comment number 31.

    How on earth is Cook making it into some of these final XI's?! Has the world gone mad?! Apart from one decent score he's been a total waste of space for god knows how long. What will it take for him to finally be dropped?

  • Comment number 32.

    Starting XI

    Strauss - Obvious
    Cook - Stick with him for the first couple of tests at least.
    Trott - Has proven that he has the talent to make big scores in tough conditions
    Pietersen - Obvious
    Collingwood - People seem to underestimate how good Colly can be.
    Prior - Obvious
    Bresnan - We need 5 bowlers, and Bresnan can average 30 with bat and ball.
    Broad - Obvious
    Swann - Obvious
    Anderson - Obvious
    Finn - Obvious

    Reserves

    Bell - His form pre-injury was top notch.
    Carberry - Cook is in average form, stick with him, but Carberry in case.
    Kieswetter - I think we need an aggressive WK-batsmen, so Prior and Kies.
    Rashid - One of the best county players for some time now, deserves the chance
    Shahzad - Reliable

  • Comment number 33.

    Just to add, i wouldn't have Morgan anywhere near the test team, his technique is filthy. If he plays 10 innings in the Ashes he'll be caught slip or keeper at least 8 of those dismissals. He has no idea where his offstump is.

  • Comment number 34.

    Not convinced that using the lions as a dumping ground for the not quite oldies, seems like short term thinking. I seem to remember Alec Stewart being taken round the world a few times before he established himself as a rock in the England team. Tredwell has been around the world doing his apprenticeship, he has done nothing wrong and no one else has pulled up trees and is looking to queue jump. Kieswetter looks to have more potential than most so I would have him in the full squad working closely with the batting and keeping coaches as well.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'd go with...
    Strauss (capt.), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Morgan, Prior, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Finn

    I'd add Kieswetter, Bell, Bresnan, Shahzad and Tredwell

    It seems we are very limited in our options to back up Swann. Rashid's too inconsistent, Monty is out of form, so I guess we just need to pray Swanny stays fit!

  • Comment number 36.

    My 16 would be:
    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    KP
    Colly/Bopara
    Bell
    Morgan
    Swann
    Rashid
    Anderson
    Finn

    Broad
    Jimmy Adams
    Davies/Kieswetter
    Bresnan


    Tres?

    Two spinners maybe better on spinning pitches like the WACA,and Sydney.But seamers at Adelaide etc.

  • Comment number 37.

    Anyone who picks Panesar probably needs to see a doctor! This bloke is yesterday's news, was a major part of England's days of futility not so long ago. How short the memory of some is!

  • Comment number 38.

    I would take a Third Opener. Hildreth would be my choice. Confidence of the good Somerset Pitches has bred a good technique. So reluctantly Morgan misses out. It was very close between him and Pietersen, who I am not convinced is a Team Man, but provided he gets runs for Surrey I would take, as he can "win " a Session in a Test, and I hope will put fear into the Aussies. Similarly for experience I would just take Foster ahead of Davis for the second Keeper. So my Squad is
    Strauss: Cook: Hildreth: Trott: Pietersen: Collingwood: Bell: Prior: Foster: Swann: Rashid:(Monty's a bowler only Rashid has a lot more) Broad: Sharsad: Andersen: Finn & Bresnan

  • Comment number 39.

    I fear that Anderson good player as he is will be pretty ineffective in Aussie conditions with swing hard to come by. That said, I would pick him but as part of a 5 man attack including 2 spinners. 3 of the 5 bowlers I would pick are also handy with the bat so I don't think we would be giving away too much on that front.Lets be bold!

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Rashid
    Anderson
    Finn

    Subs:
    Davies (WK)
    Bell
    Carberry
    Bresnan

    Morgan

  • Comment number 40.

    Carberry is a no-go. limited technique - quickly sussed by aussies. Been around a long time and had no major impact even at county level.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oliver, you and I agree on everyone bar Rashid and Sidebottom.

    People worry about James Anderson down under being toothless if the ball doesn't swing. At least he has a little pace. If it doesn't swing for Sidebottom, then he hasn't got that extra nip to hustle batsmen. There is a place for Sid in one-day cricket but I wouldn't pick him for Australia. For the same reason, I wouldn't have Bresnan. He looked fairly innocuous against average opposition on green English wickets. That doesn't bode well for warm days in Australia.

    As Onions is injured, I would pick Chris Tremlett ahead of Sidebottom and Bresnan. England have settled on the four man attack so the all-rounder issue doesn't feature for me. Tremlett has bowled well at the Oval and with good pace. He's got experience of Australia and I believe he offers a lot more with the ball than Bresnan and Sidebottom. If he played, it would be in place of an injured frontline bowler therefore we need a true frontline bowler as a replacement, not an 80 mph seamer who can bat.

    Rashid over Panesar: it's actually a hard one to call. If a second spinner were to be played, you'd be talking about a real Aussie turning wicket. Rashid is more attacking and so is ahead of Monty on those terms. The problem is that Rashid has been on several winter tours and missed out on bowling. If he went to Australia, is there the risk that he'll be consigned to carrying the drinks again and thus harming his development yet again during the winter? Rashid has come a long way this summer. It would be a shame to affect that development.

    If the selectors can find a way to get Rashid bowling plenty of overs in Australia, then I'd pick him ahead of Panesar. If that's unlikely, then have Panesar as the second spinner. I can't find out where the Lions are going over the winter. If it was somewhere like India or Sri Lanka, then I'd get Rashid over there and send Monty to Australia.


  • Comment number 42.

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Morgan
    Bell
    Prior
    Foster
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn
    Shahzad
    Patel
    Hildreth

  • Comment number 43.

    strauss
    cook
    trott
    pieterson
    bell
    collingwood / morgan
    prior / foster
    broad
    swann / rashid
    anderson / bresan
    finn / sidebottom

  • Comment number 44.

    As others have already stated, if the "performance" squad is in Australia too, why bother picking an Ashes squad anyway?
    It would make far more sense to pick 30 players, with only the starting XI knowing they're first choice, the rest will then have to prove that they are next in line instead of have a few resting on their laurels and sitting around doing nothing.
    By doing this, the likes of Rashid, Davies, Panesar, Carberry and whoever else, get the experience as well as actually playing cricket and hopefully keeping a little form.

  • Comment number 45.

    XI:

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Bell
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn

    Solid eleven. If I were to bring Morgan in for anyone at the moment it would be Collingwood. He's just not in form and was too easy to get out in the last Ashes. But that would be my team, and barring injuries, it won't change throughout the series.

    5 reserves:

    Shazhad - did well against Bangladesh, and I rate him a lot more than Bresnan who I think is out and out crap. Who cares if he doubles up as an all rounder if he can't bowl well? And we've got more than useful runs from a decent tail in us. Shazhad ahead of Sidebottom too who I'd not thought about, but could be an option - has the experience.

    Morgan - class batsmen, could be a secret weapon in Australia if given the chance. Hasn't had a good test summer but it has been very hard for batting and he will get better.

    Panesar - as a reserve spinner who won't play at all unless at Sydney. Can't bat, can't field and vastly inferior to Swann at spinning, so in almost no circumstance would I want him to play, but he is the second best spinner so take him for that reason.

    Kieswetter - don't rate Steven Davies. Have watched him for Surrey and he's not my cup of tea. I know Kieswetter can be a bit swashbuckly (not a word) but seeing as he won't play and he's going to be in the one day side out there I'd take him.

    Jimmy Adams - cover for opening batsmen. Trott got his call on form, and this guy is red hot this season so if needed which I doubt he will be, he will deserve his call up. Don't rate Carberry even though he did play in Bangladesh.

  • Comment number 46.

    Rashid is a known trouble maker in the England camp, which is why his talent hasn't been rewarded with call ups. A definite no go this winter. We don't need any hassle.

  • Comment number 47.

    Gavelaa:

    Graeme Swann was regarded as an arrogant so and so as well when he was young. Perhaps Rashid has actually gone away to his county this year and developed both on the pitch and in the mental department.

  • Comment number 48.

    Well the Oval 11 would all be shoo ins I guess, then you have 2 extra batsmen, a spare keeper and a couple of bowlers probably. Or possibly 1 bat, 1 keeper and 3 bowlers.

    I would add Bell, Steven Davies, Shahzad, Bresnan and Adil Rashid. I think those replacements would mean that injuries don't disrupt the balance of the team too much. I think Trott should be able to step in as an emergency opener, if needed. Shahzad has some ability to reverse swing, which in Aussie conditions may be a useful attribute. And finger spinners don't always do well in Australia, so I don't see too much point in selecting either Panesar or Tredwell. Rashid needs to be pushed forward, and perhaps a slightly spikier personality won't be a bad thing either.

  • Comment number 49.

    What planet does Phil Tufnel live on?

    If Shazad is not in the squad I shall be amazed, as I believe he will get a game and be very successful. For me Finn looks ideal cannon fodder for the Oz batsmen.
    Today Bell was back playing and did OK and is a certainty for the starting line up.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think all those saying that you only need a squad of 13 or less because the lions are in Aus as well, have got the wrong idea. Its not going to help England if the lions are in a different part of the country and a player gets injured on the morning that a test starts is it?

    That being said I'd take:

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Bell
    Morgan
    Prior
    Davies
    Swann
    Rashid
    Broad
    Anderson
    Shahzad
    Finn
    Woakes

  • Comment number 51.

    31. At 2:00pm on 04 Sep 2010, yottskry wrote:

    "How on earth is Cook making it into some of these final XI's?! Has the world gone mad?! Apart from one decent score he's been a total waste of space for god knows how long. What will it take for him to finally be dropped?"

    Cook's scored 4 centuries in the past 12 months, and played very well against Bangladesh and South Africa. So when you say he's been a "total waste of space for god knows how long", you probably mean the last 2 months?

    He's scored a century today for Essex, in addition to his Oval hundred, so seems to be back in form.

    ---

    32. At 2:10pm on 04 Sep 2010, JDowning wrote:
    "Bresnan - We need 5 bowlers, and Bresnan can average 30 with bat and ball."

    Against Bangladesh, Bresnan might be able to average 30 and 30, but this is Australia and the Ashes. Did you see him in the ODIs against them? ONE wicket in FIVE matches! He's not a wicket-taker at this level, so would be a waste of space, unfortunately.

    ---

    39. At 3:57pm on 04 Sep 2010, diego1982 wrote:

    "I would pick him ... a 5 man attack including 2 spinners. Lets be bold!"

    There's being bold, and being a bit silly. You play two spinners on sub-continent pitches, but not on English, South African or Australian pitches. The pitches won't take enough spin to warrant spin at both ends.

    ---

    44. At 5:22pm on 04 Sep 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    "As others have already stated, if the "performance" squad is in Australia too, why bother picking an Ashes squad anyway? It would make far more sense to pick 30 players"

    Whilst the squad is out there, they will be doing different things. They have a different back-room staff and will be off playing their own games. Plus I doubt that managing 30 odd players is the easiest thing - and the Test squad players would get preferential treatment, so some of the Performance players might feel ignored.

    ---

    45. At 5:48pm on 04 Sep 2010, Gavelaa wrote:

    "I know Kieswetter can be a bit swashbuckly (not a word) but seeing as he won't play and he's going to be in the one day side out there I'd take him."

    Well Kieswetter's just been dropped from the ODI squad, so he may only be there as part of the T20 squad.

  • Comment number 52.

    strauss
    trott
    bell
    kp
    collingwood
    morgan
    prior
    swann
    broad
    anderson
    finn


    kieswetter
    cook
    shahzad
    bresnan
    rashid

  • Comment number 53.

    Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Collingwood, Bell, Prior, Broad, Swann, Shahzad, Anderson as the starting XI...
    Back-up of Carberry, Bopara, Davies, Finn, Bresnan and Rashid
    I'm really not sure what Morgan has done to keep his place in the team, and to be honest I think Carberry and Bopara have both shown more potential in the longer form of the game and deserve a chance... also I think picking Finn would really be throwing him in the deep end and so I would probably opt for Shahzad, although it is a tough call

  • Comment number 54.

    Oky Doky - The Ashes, Englands First Choice 11 (on a bowler's pitch) should be:

    Andrew Strauss
    Alaistar Cook
    Jonathon Trott
    Kevin Pieterson
    Paul Collingwood
    Ian Bell
    Matthew Prior
    Stuart Broad
    Graeme Swann
    James Anderson
    Steven Finn

    For a batsmen pitch, like Australian pitches, I would probs have Tim Bresnan instead of Colly or Monty if conditions apply.

    So in addition to the 11 in the list above, I would have, Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shazad, Monty Panesar, Michael Carberry and Craig Kieswetter, but Eoin Morgan should not hold his head in shame, I just dont think he's ready for an Ashes series, and the last three Tests against Pakistan were not that convincing. Get more experience and runs at county cricket and he'll be back in the squad. I would have him in the one-day squad

  • Comment number 55.

    I agree with Aggers and Alec, except I'd take Rashid over Panesar and the reasoning for taking Carberry as a reserve opener is pretty sound, a squad of 17 it is.

  • Comment number 56.

    Strauss,Cook,Trott,Collingwood,Prior,Pietersen,Morgan,Broad,Swann,Finn and Anderson

    Plus: Bell,Rashid,Sidebottom,Key,Kieswetter.


    Prior would be good at 5 as he is in the form of his life and is good at building solid partnerships. This would give an out of form Pietersen more protection and Morgan more of a licence to play like a one day player.

    The left handed Sidebottom would give something different and in my eyes Panesar's time is up.

    Key is in great form and Kieswetter has more experience than the likes of Davies of Surrey





  • Comment number 57.

    The selection highlights a significant problem in the way the england game is run. The fact that Cook, Collingwood, Pietersen, and Morgan are shoe ins to go does not set us in good stead.

    Throw in Strauss, and we will be going to Australia with a number of players who frankly are not in any form to give us a chance.

    But who has been pushing them - more importantly, who has been allowed to push them?

    No one, it doesn't matter if you are a Lion scoring runs, or a County stalwart - the fact is, if you are in the England XI and not doing any good, then you are still ahead of County and Lions players who may be scoring for fun.

    An ashes win would be in spite of the current set up, not because of it.

    So basically - its a pointless question.

  • Comment number 58.

    All this talk of not taking a spare keeper is a bit of a non starter to be honest. What if Prior got injured during the warm up prior to the test? If his understudy was at the other end of Australia with the Lions squad, we would be in a bit of trouble. Remember that this happened to Australia in the last Ashes when Haddin got injured, but they had a replacement ready. I agree with the squad that Aggers has picked - its just a shame that there is no place for Rob Key.

  • Comment number 59.

    No Panesar!

  • Comment number 60.

    53. At 6:48pm on 04 Sep 2010, jfe261 wrote:

    "also I think picking Finn would really be throwing him in the deep end and so I would probably opt for Shahzad, although it is a tough call"

    Shahzad has less Test caps, and less appearances in first class, List A and T20 cricket!

    ---

    56. At 7:07pm on 04 Sep 2010, hugoreid wrote:

    "Key is in great form"

    2010 first-class average of 34? If we want to take in form batsmen, there's Lyth, Hildreth, Taylor and Buttler for a start (I am very confident the latter two will play international cricket during their career), and if I were to check the season averages I'm sure I'll find plenty more.

  • Comment number 61.

    Has anyone forgot about Jimmy Adams?
    He has just played an innings of a life time for Hampshire against Lancashire, he has made over 1000 runs for the forth season on the trot, was top scorer in the FP t20 competition and is being completly over looked for all formats of the game.
    he should definitely be playing ODI's and should be in contention to open at test level should cook dip out of form again.
    What more could he possibly do to push for a place?

  • Comment number 62.

    I've enjoyed playing this game for over 35 years, so how could I resist? I wouldn't have Morgan - too much emphasis on his one-day record, look at his county record and I think he'll get found out by top test bowling, nor Bresnan nor Shahzad, over-promoted all-rounders, though one could be there as extra for the one-dayers. Put in Lyth though - over-cautious selection cost us at the football World Cup and why not have someone who's young and in really good form?

    Here we go:

    Strauss
    Lyth
    Cook
    Trott
    Bell
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Prior
    Davies
    Anderson
    Broad
    Finn
    Tremlett
    Sidebottom
    Swann
    Panesar


  • Comment number 63.

    Anyone but Bell. The guy is a flat-track bully, and Morgan has a lot more about him than Bell does. Also, Carberry should go. Agree with Tufnell that we need cover for an opener and as a biased Hampshire man, I say take him or Adams as well. But hopefully they won't get a game due to Cook and Strauss performing well.

    I think Strauss will do very well this winter. Call it a feeling, Sweeny.

  • Comment number 64.

    Jonathon Agnew makes the comment "I would take Yorkshire's Shahzad for the experience" -- I would say the same for Glamorgan's James Harris who is very close to being the leading wicket taker (and also close to having the best average) in this year's County Championship.

  • Comment number 65.

    Bell in at 3. For me he is the man for the job. I would drop cook and have trott open. Would also like to see Carbury go. Think he deserves a shot. Am i the only person who wouldn`t be that bothered if Pieterson spent the winter on some lame dance gameshow?

  • Comment number 66.

    Seth, I see you made the point about Adams there. It's a good one. Lyth has done well this year for Yorkshire but Jimmy has been doing it for a while. Saved the game recently against Lancs. Time to step up me thinks...

  • Comment number 67.

    Come to think of it, with Panesar going in the line-up, the future of England as world beaters is now unstoppable...!!! just like your odds of sunbathing on an Arizoa beach!!! hehe!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    I like the idea of having specific back-ups, if the performance squad are touring at the same time. Having people like Adam Lyth, James Hildreth, Steve Davis, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom, etc, all touring would not only give them experience on Aussie tracks at the time when they may be called up, but it'd give Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower a wide range of options. If the performance squad are travelling, Strauss, Flower, Geoff Miller and co. should spend a long time getting those decisions spot on, because those players could end up having a huge bearing on the eventual outcome of the series.

  • Comment number 69.

    Rashid is playing in Div 1 and has taken 51 wickets and scored 679 runs @ 52.23. Panesar plays in Div 2, has taken 44 wickets and has scored 138 runs @ 11.5. If Rashid isn't picked as second spinner whatever problems there was on his last tour (probably frustation at not playing), we will be a laughing stock. In any other test playing country if you are good enough you are old enough. We have persevered with Cook haven't we, but he plays for Essex and not Yorkshire!

    Give Rashid a chance (and keep faith with him)!

  • Comment number 70.

    Why is it taking so long for my comment to be moderated. Is it because i was ragging on KP

  • Comment number 71.

    Is anyone moderating tonight, no? It is a Saturday I suppose...

  • Comment number 72.

    At 7:40pm on 04 Sep 2010, matt-h88 wrote:

    56. At 7:07pm on 04 Sep 2010, hugoreid wrote:

    "Key is in great form"

    2010 first-class average of 34? If we want to take in form batsmen, there's Lyth, Hildreth, Taylor and Buttler for a start (I am very confident the latter two will play international cricket during their career), and if I were to check the season averages I'm sure I'll find plenty more.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Key does a lower average but he is more of an established England player than any of the names above (nine tests). Throwing a young, inexperienced player in may ruin their future international development. In my eyes the best thing to do would be to put an older player in like Rob Key or Gordon Muchall of Durham (with an average of 47.)

  • Comment number 73.

    The BBC has become a farce. On the one hand, they want you to comment. On the other hand, if they think that your comment may offend the sensibility of others, they delete it. And then send you an email saying that your email has broken House Rules.

    Shame on you, BBC! Grow some balls or end inviting comments. You are an embarrassment!

  • Comment number 74.

    63. See the anti-Bell campaign rears its head again!

    Bell, Collingwood, Strauss - all dropped because of lack of form but come back STRONGER!

    KP finally dropped for poor form - well done selectors!

    Cook - appears to be bullet proof.

    Remember - form is temporary, but class is permanent and Bell IS a class act

  • Comment number 75.

    The notion of potentailly moving Trott to open is nonsense. We have been looking fro a solid number for years and years and as soon as we get one we wnat to move him. Cook is undoubtedly a class player but he looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights and his place woul;dn't be assured for 5 tests so a reserve opener is a must - clearly Carberry. Bell has to come back and should be part of the test XI from the off , probably for Morgan but KP has proven to be frail on and off the pitch and has no saintly right to walk in. CB 40 tons are all well and good ( also for Cook) but it isn't the samer thing at all.Collingwood also looks dated to me ( he has done and has delivered but his lifespan is limnited so far from having a settled line up we have 3 top order with question marks about them. We will need a second spinner so the squad should be

    Cook
    Strauss
    Trott
    Collingwood
    KP
    Bell
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn

    plus
    Carberry
    Panesar
    Davies
    Bresnan
    Shahzad

  • Comment number 76.

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    KP
    Kieswetter
    Morgan
    Hildreth or Adams
    Carberry
    Prior
    Broad
    Finn
    Anderson
    Shahzad
    Swann
    Rashid
    Panesar

    Three spinners to give you an option plus Rashid is a pretty good batsman.I wouldnt take Collingwood,he has given good service but the mileage is beginnig to tell.The Aussie tour is a hard one and age is against him.I would take Kieswetter because he is a goodish keeper and can take attacks apart on his own.Aussies crumple when a batsman starts to flay them its why they fear KP.Those two in harness would be worth paying a kings ransom to see.I think you need to take along players who will make up the next generation IE Hildreth,Carberry and Adams even if they dont often get a game.I like the look of Shahzad and he could prove to be a dark horse in the bowling attack.I wouldnt take Bell because the Aussies have had the measure of him for years.He is a very good player but hasnt adapted and remains a fair weather batsman.

  • Comment number 77.

    "I wouldn't have Morgan - too much emphasis on his one-day record, look at his county record and I think he'll get found out by top test bowling"

    I'd have thought that how someone performs against international attacks in front of full houses with the tv cameras on them is a far better clue as to their test match capabilities than their average against county medium pacers for the benefit of 27 members. There's an interview with Marcus Trescothick in a cricket mag this month where he argues that England's past weaknesses are due to paying far too much attention to domestic performances - he of course is a very good example fo someone who would never have made it if county averages were what really mattered.

  • Comment number 78.

    76. So you would take Cook and KP who are so horribly out of form and who potentially could fail, yet you would leave behind Bell - England's top batsman through the tours to SA, Bangladesh and the home series against Bangladesh?

    Shows you know nothing about cricket!!

  • Comment number 79.

    Have to agree with you there Brummie. Why does Bell get such a bad rep. When he`s clearly, clearly the best number 3 we have.

  • Comment number 80.

    jamiesweeny - how on EARTH is bell the best number 3 we have? Trott was the highest run scorer of the series against Pakistan, by a mile, at 3. Bell improved last winter in terms of temperament, but the aussies will eat the sherminator for breakfast. And, he's been out for two months. He'll need to play extremely well in warm up games, but even then, coming back from injury against australia would be tough.

  • Comment number 81.

    There is no question that Bell should be in the team, he has his bad days but can put together high scores,usually manages around 30 to 50 and works hard in the field. He is often criticized for not converting good starts into hundreds but his output is better than Pietersens. I would not take KP, he is so full of himself the cricket suffers every time. I don't agree that the team has to accept the way he plays, not at No 4, England need a disciplined and focussed batsman there (e.g. Graham Thorpe ), not someone who experiments with show off shots when retaining his wicket is crucial, better he stays home. Carberry should be included and perhaps Raschid, Panesar may bowl well but he can't bat and his fielding is useless, recently the England team's fielding has been excellent and has significantly contributed to their victories. If KP does go you couldn't include Monty because the tail enders are needed to cover his miserable scores. The current bowling squad is the most consistent for some time and if Freddie had have been available would be awesome, I wouldn't take Bresnan who is a steady limited over/county player but I would include sidebottom as a backup seamer.

  • Comment number 82.

    i can't see bresnan ever being a force in test cricket even wen the conditions suit,which they won't
    i'd much prefer we take tremlet who could take wicket

  • Comment number 83.

    Controversial, slightly, but a bit different! Give the Aussies something to think about!

    Strauss
    Cook
    Bell
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn

    Shahzad
    Tredwell
    Foster
    Key
    Adams

  • Comment number 84.

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    KP
    Colly
    Bell
    Prior
    Swann
    Broad
    Anderson
    Finn


    Morgan
    Davies
    Shazhad
    Panesar
    Tremlett

  • Comment number 85.

    Bresnan and shazad r not good enuf 2 tak on the aussies. may as well just pinch woakes (hu is almost an all-rounder)or the legendary Tremlett (who shud replace Finn anyway cos he can barely buy a wicket afta his strength and conditioning training)from th lions. Steve Davies and Rashid should also play 4 the lions if they're tourin Oz cos then they mit b in gud form if we shud need them, insted of just havin carried drinks 4 a month and not have held a bat in anger. Apart from his century, morgans highest score was a low 30 - hardly going to mak the aussies sweat. Send him 2 th lions get sum form and play bell hu was our best batsmen til he got injured. Surely adam lyth - hu will b with th lions, deserves a chance afta the season he just had. If we want reserves that can come in and play well, we need people hu hav bn playing regularly, not just sittin around doing nothing. Take some of the people hu r gud fielders but r only pushin 4 a plac in th lions squad - not the full team yet. They wud gain 'experience' and the peopl we really need in gud nick will be playing prorperly - lik Trott was b4 he came in2 the team last yr an we all know wat he did.

    It's not gonna happen now for this tour but nxt time in england our team will be:

    Strauss
    Lyth
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Bell
    Davies
    Broad
    Woakes
    Swann
    Tremlett
    Anderson

    Cook will have finally bn dropped,colly retired b4 he's dropd, morgan and finn realised 2 not b redy 4 tests and prior dropped 4 a proper glovesman hu can also bat better. Tremlett is the like 4 like replacment 4 Finn and he's gone a whole season uninjured and hu's stats read

    Player Mat Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Ave Econ SR
    CT Tremlett 10 322.0 78 850 40 21.25 2.63 48.3

    Woakes is warwickshires best bowler and batsmen - get him in.

  • Comment number 86.

    What about jimmy adams? he's had an amazing season for hampshire. for me, he might just sneak in

  • Comment number 87.

    85. At 12:51pm on 05 Sep 2010, baines4eva wrote:

    "legendary Tremlett (who shud replace Finn anyway cos he can barely buy a wicket afta his strength and conditioning training)"

    Finn averaged under 23 against Pakistan (only behind Swann, Anderson and Amir), and only Swann had a better strike-rate.


  • Comment number 88.

    It's suprising that there's no mention at all of Ravi Bopara. To be honest I wouldn't pick him as there's no need for another batsman in the 16, but it seems odd he's not discussed as he has clear ability and is in good form.

    It's unnecessary to dicuss other people outside the usual suspects, such as tremlett, adams, etc. They will never be picked for this series so lets leave them for discussion next summer if they're in good form.

    Outside the XI from lords the two definites are bell and shahzad. I assume Bell will take Morgan's place, but Morgan's a good fit to face the aussies. Looks to be mentally tougher than Ravi, and the aussies will be in more worried about him than Bell. Cook will be in the team though he needs to step up, and he could be replaced by Bell/Morgan (Trott to open) if its going badly for him. Shahzad looks good from what I've seen and worthy of a spot.

    Tough to call with the reserve wicketkeeper. Davies is in form and will probably go. I would say he plays a lot of cricket on a flat wicket at the oval and against 2nd division bowlers (there is enough of a difference between div 1 and 2, which I've noticed as a kent fan recently!) So maybe there's an argument for Kieswetter, Read or Jones (though as I said they won't pick outside the usual suspects so probably only Kieswetter has a realistic chance).

    The reserve spinner. Tredwell hasn't done well enough and will almost certainly miss out. The likely pick is Monty, he has a decent average for div 2 (26). He is in div 2 and in a strong team which helps. So in all honesty his average is probably comparable to Rashid (31). Also Rashid can bat, Monty cannot. Monty will be economical, but he might not take wickets. If you look at sussex scorecards this season, he has to bowl a lot of balls between wickets. Rashid is a gamble, unfinished as a leg spinner he could either go for runs or rip through the aussies. Since they will only play if Swann gets injured, England would probably just want a spinner to hold up an end so Monty is probably the right choice.

    Finally the final seamer. Its between Sidebottom and Bresnan. I don't think either would do much in oz conditions, and I don't rate Bresnan much. But he's faster with a bit more bounce, and can bat, whereas Sidebottom cannot bat and needs swing. So it has to be Bresnan.

    Those in contention but out of the 16 need a big finish to the county championship, though I doubt even that will change much in the selectors eye at this point.

  • Comment number 89.

    My 11 for the first test.

    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Trott
    4. Pietersen
    5. Collingwood
    6. Bell - Morgan didn't do enough to convince me that he's ready for the pressures of test cricket.
    7. Prior
    8. Broad
    9. Swann
    10. Anderson
    11. Finn - Not sure about Finn yet but for the sake of consistency I'd pick him. If not Finn I'd like sidebottom in the side because he gives the attack some variation being a left armer.

    Squad Players

    Morgan
    Kieswetter
    Sidebottom
    Woakes - A great future seamer for England! I'd take him for the experience.
    Panesar

    To be honest I think England need to play 5 bowlers to pick up 20 wickets on those flat tracks in Australia. But that'd be too risky because the batting has proven recently to be very flimsy. Especially if KP isn't in form.

    I think this squad has a good balance between youth and experience. Although it's just my opinion.

    Oh and I know I haven't included a backup opener but I'm fairly confident Trott can step into the role if required.

  • Comment number 90.

    The first 11 is fairly obvious and deserves the chance. It is the lack of quality in the replacements that worries me. Any more than one batting injury leaves us short and God help us if anything goes wrong with Swann.

    Any other tour I'd welcome the chance to throw in a few random/inspired selections but not against the Aussies.

    Strauss,Cook,Trott,KP,Colly,Bell,Prior,Swann,Broad,Anderson, that will be the first team.

    Morgan and Davies will go but after that who? The lack of depth is frightening if we are talking the likes of Monty and Bresnan. Sorry to be harsh but it's true.

  • Comment number 91.

    Lesser the hype, greater the winning chances(for england). Else will follow england footballers.

  • Comment number 92.

    Everybody wants a left-arm limpet on the team...that magical match-winning spinning ***key who jumps up-and-down and into the face of the umpire each the batsman is struck on the pads...hehe!

  • Comment number 93.

    Is Collingwood only a certainty because he's the T20 captain? He averaged worse than Pietersen against Pakistan and there's no mention of him needing to find the form that he certainly doesn't have at the moment. Can't see the squad being too different from what it is at the moment, Bell HAS to come in for Morgan at 6, other than that the first test team is very unlikely to be changed unless of an injury. I'd like to see Steve Davies as the back up wk, Shahzad as the bowler as he reverses it miles, Morgan and Rashid would be the bck up batsman and spinner.

  • Comment number 94.

    Settled times clearly make for greater consensus. How different things were prior to that final test of 2009!
    All of these expert and other suggestions spring from an understandably optimistic platform. When the Ashes were last contested, England won the deciding match, since when their bowlers and fielders have enjoyed consistent success, and results have almost invariably continued the positive vein. It is not England's fault that this summer's Tests have been played against sides with wildly unpredictable and mostly sub-standard batting, and the efforts in the field have been overwhelmingly excellent.
    The batting, however, is quite different. If we except the bulwark Trott, then the rest is laced with under-achievement, albeit for an occasional high point from Morgan and Broad, both of whom largely failed. This deficit has not yet been convincingly remedied.
    In addition, Australia has been a rather unhappy experience for a succession of English bowlers, in terms of injury and indiscipline bowling. Until the first Australian innings is completed, we will not genuinely know how good this England side really is. As was remarked sufficiently often during the past summer, conditions of climate, pitch and ball are markedly different from those enjoyed at home, and much also depends upon how the team reacts to having to spend sessions when wickets are not falling so regularly, and when batsmen of quality get and stay on top.
    As a team, it is encouraging that they seem committed to each other. Strauss and Flower are to be commended for that, and will need to work hard indeed to keep it all together. This is a very different type of team from the last one that went Down Under, but few pundits, expert or otherwise, foresaw the carnage that followed. There were some big names and reputations then, just as have now been constructed for the current team.

  • Comment number 95.

    I've been banging on all summer about the need to blood new, younger players. In particular i've championed Michael Carberry, James Hildreth, Adam Lyth and Adil Rashid but now with the ashes upon us we're stuck with the same old same old. Given the fact we've played against two of the weakest teams in test cricket at the moment it was a perfect oppurtunity to give some or all of these guys a chance but Geoff Miller and his merry men have passed it up, shame on them. If the ashes goes disastrously wrong again then the selectors need to resign end off.
    So we now have to stick with the same 11 thank god Ian Bell will be fit. I never thought I would say that but there's been something different about him over the last year.

  • Comment number 96.

    My squad to bring home the Ashes:

    Steve James
    Darren Maddy
    Usman Afzaal
    Aftab Habib
    Ian Ward
    Ed Smith
    Richard Blakey
    Steve Rhodes
    Alan Mullally
    James Kirtley
    Darren Pattinson
    Peter Such
    Ian Salisbury
    Chris Schofield
    Mike Smith
    Martin McCague
    Alex Tudor

    I'm sure you will all agree that this is a quite formidable squad and will surely return home after a 5-0 whitewash (possibly not in Englands favour).

  • Comment number 97.

    Gareth (96) - superb choices, you've finally realised the rest of us have been mucking around with a narrow field of players who are simply not up to scratch and have nailed down some of the finest England cricketers.

    Thanks everyone for getting stuck into the debate. So many threads to pick up, but allow me to settle on Ravi Bopara, not mentioned by any of the "BBC Four". He's unfortunate in as much as he's had a good season, but his form against Ponting's bowlers last summer is a big negative. I still feel he has a big career in Test cricket in front of him.

    Let's cruise past 100 comments people, then I win a rosette or something

  • Comment number 98.

    I believe you'll have to go in with 5 bowlers if you want to take 20 wickets in order to win:

    Strauss (c)
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Prior (wk)
    Bresnan
    Broad
    Swann
    Anderson
    Finn

    Bell
    Kieswetter (wk)
    Rashid
    Shahzad
    Onions

  • Comment number 99.

    Strauss
    Carberry
    Trott
    KP
    Collingwood
    Bell
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Andersen
    Finn

    My tip is for KP and Strauss to be top run scorers with Bell to score 2 hundreds as well.

  • Comment number 100.

    #49 Finn cannon fodder? This is a fast bowler who is 6' 7" on the bounciest pitches in test cricket. If he can get decent bounce on the flat track at Lord's (OK, so he's had plenty of practice there) he can do it in Oz.

 

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