England’s team for the first Ashes has been announced. Jofra Archer is all set to make his Test debut provided he remains fit whereas Ben Stokes has been reappointed as vice-captain. England Cricket Board has announced a 14-member squad for the first Ashes Test, scheduled to begin on August 1.
Archer & Stokes rewarded
Jofra Archer has been rewarded for his brilliant showcase in the recently concluded World Cup. The much anticipated Super Over at the finale saw the young lad fulfilling the responsibility allocated to him pretty decently. No wonder he has been included to the Ashes team. Archer’s inclusion in playing eleven is still doubtful due to a side strain he has been facing since the World Cup. He has recently played a Vitality Blast match for Sussex on Friday which means he is probably ‘match fit’. But his fitness for a five-day fixture is still in doubt. England might not take risk with Archer and would like to be observant before taking final call; especially with the in-form Chris Woakes on side.
A controversial night in September 2017 took away the vice-captaincy of England Test team from Ben Stokes. Now after his wonderful showcase with bat and ball in World Cup final he has reclaimed his position as Joe Root’s deputy. Stokes was cleared on the charge last summer but Jos Buttler has been working as the vice –captain until now.
A statement from England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that the decision on Stokes’ position passed through several senior officials at the board and was approved by all. The statement said, “Colin Graves, chairman of the ECB, has approved the reappointment of Ben Stokes as Test vice-captain following the recommendation from managing director of England men’s cricket Ashley Giles and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison.”
ECB to keep faith
Most of the players who defeated Ireland in the only Test at Lord’s have been included although the Man of the Match Jack Leach has been left out after his match saving innings of 92. The selectors have kept faith in the batting line-up featured at Lord’s Test even after the debacle. Players who were rested for the Lord’s match- Stokes, Archer, Jos Buttler, and Jimmy Anderson have been included. Along with Woakes, Stuart Broad, Olly Stone, and Sam Curran are the common faces from the Home of Cricket with Moeen Ali being the only spinner.
The national selector, Ed Smith opined, “Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here. Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles. In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket.” He further added, “The wider circumstances – a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series – are unprecedented. It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection.”
England squad for first Ashes Test:
Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes