Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Boyd Rankin in England Ashes squad

England give Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes and Boyd Rankin surprise call-ups to their Ashes squad to tour Australia this winter

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
alastair cook
Alastair Cook's England are looking to win a fourth straight Ashes series Photo: The Sport Review

England have given batsman Gary Ballance, all-rounder Ben Stokes and bowler Boyd Rankin surprise call-ups to their Ashes squad to tour Australia this winter.

All three are uncapped at Test level for England ahead of the trip Down Under, while seamers Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions miss out, as does opener Nick Compton.

Batsman Michael Carberry, spinner Monty Panesar and pace bowler Chris Tremlett have all been recalled.

Carberry has been capped once at Test level, making his debut in Bangladesh in 2010. Panesar has already won 48 Test caps in his seven-year international career, the last of which was against New Zealand in Auckland earlier this year. Tremlett, who took 17 wickets in the 2010-11 Ashes series in Australia, will be hoping to add to his 11 Test caps.

Captain Alastair Cook will lead a squad looking to win a fourth Ashes series in a row, a feat that has not been achieved by an England team since 1890.

“We are fully aware that the Ashes series will once again be fiercely contested and that this squad will need to work extremely hard and play to a very high level to retain the Ashes and we believe we have selected a squad capable of doing just that,” said national selector Geoff Miller.

“As we have seen in previous series, we will need all members of the squad ready to step up and make vital contributions throughout the five Tests and we feel that all 17 players have the ability to do that.

“There is real competition for places with both bat and ball and we feel that we have provided Andy Flower and Alastair Cook with a well-balanced squad.

“Tim Bresnan has not been named in the squad and is continuing his recovery from a stress fracture in his back. He will travel to Australia with the squad to maximise his rehab opportunities with the medical team and coaches who will monitor his progress.”

England squad: Alastair Cook (captain), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Michael Carberry, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (vice-captain), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Ben Stokes, Monty Panesar, Boyd Rankin, Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett.

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