England’s Ashes squad – who are the new boys?

Will Macpherson Columnist

By Will Macpherson, Will Macpherson is a Roar Expert

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    Joe Root led England to victory over South Africa. (AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT)

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    The return Ashes series is looming and England will head down under hungry to win four consecutive Ashes series for the first time since the 19th Century.

    They’ve now not lost a Test match since Ahmedabad in November 2012 and have a pretty settled side.

    That didn’t mean, however, last week’s squad announcement passed without surprise.

    The selectors cast aside Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan, who made their debuts in the drawn final Test at the Oval, and have gone for bulk over guile in their bowling attack, selecting Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett and Boyd Rankin at the expense of county stalwart Graham Onions.

    They will hope Monty Panesar’s tricky summer is behind him as he is recalled to back Graeme Swann up in the tweakers department, while Jonny Bairstow has also survived and is favourite to bat at the troublesome number six position in Brisbane. He also provides cover for vice-captain Matt Prior behind the stumps.

    Aggressive all-rounder Ben Stokes capped a fine season for County champions Durham with a call-up, while two new batsmen provided the biggest surprise of all, with veteran opener Michael Carberry and Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance edging out Nick Compton and James Taylor.

    Aussie fans will be familiar with most of the squad, but here’s a look at Carberry, Ballance, Stokes and Rankin, the only four yet to play an Ashes Test:

    Michael Carberry
    Now 33, Carberry has been English cricket’s nearly-man for years and it is something of a surprise his second coming has occurred at this late stage.

    He certainly did not disgrace himself in his solitary Test against Bangladesh in 2010 and has been immensely unlucky not to appear since.

    Didn’t look himself in the one day internationals against Australia as the curtain fell on the English season and 2013 has not been his finest year in red-ball cricket, even if the Hampshire man has been in electric form in the game’s shorter forms.

    Carberry allies patience with dashing stroke play and would certainly not let England down if called upon at the top of the order.

    Perhaps a touch lucky to get the call ahead of Compton, who knuckled down after his early season omission, but not a single person in England is begrudging the popular ‘Carbs’ his moment in the sun.

    Gary Ballance
    This guy has exploded onto the scene in 2013, scoring more runs in Division One of the County Championship than anybody else.

    Capped his call-up last week with twin centuries against Surrey to take his tally for the season to 1251 runs at 62.55, including five tons.

    Ended up at Yorkshire via Harare, Harrow and Derbyshire, Ballance might just be the man to displace his county colleague Bairstow and provide the answer at number six – a question that has remained unresolved since Ian Bell’s promotion upon Paul Collingwood’s retirement in 2011.

    Ballance is a headline writer’s dream and has all the shots in the book.

    The burly southpaw visited Australia with England Lions last winter and his three half-centuries meant he was one of only a few players to come away with his reputation advanced on the winless tour.

    Ben Stokes
    That Lions tour may not hold such fond memories for Stokes who, along with then Kent man Matt Coles, was sent home for the sort of late night revelry that would have made England’s last genuine all-rounder, Andrew Flintoff, proud.

    2013 has seen him put those troubles to bed, however, as he has been instrumental in Durham’s extraordinary County Championship triumph.

    He hasn’t been at his best with the bat, with just one Championship century, but his bowling has come on in leaps and bounds, picking up 42 wickets at 26.57.

    He bowls with spark and aggression, often at speeds upwards of 90mph.

    Looked ready for international cricket in the ODI series against Australia, when played in a three man pace attack, and even picked up a five wicket haul in the deciding match at the Rose Bowl, Southampton.

    He’s a fiery character who is always up for the fight and is most likely to feature as a number six or seven batsman and fourth pace bowler this winter.

    Boyd Rankin
    Rankin is a farmer from Londonderry in Northern Ireland, who made more than 50 appearances for Ireland in the game’s shorter forms before switching his allegiances to England in search of Test cricket.

    Something of a late comer at the age of 29, Rankin looked well-equipped for the rigours of Test cricket when picking up five wickets at 21 in the recent ODI series.

    A giant of a man who bowls in a similar manner to Tremlett, it was not expected that both would board the plane to Australia.

    However, with Rankin the man in form and Tremlett Australia’s tormenter in chief last time round, England’s selectors chose to take both at the expense of Onions’ consistency.

    Rankin took 31 wickets at 23 in nine Championship matches for Warwickshire this year and, with Tim Bresnan injured and question marks surrounding the form of Finn and Tremlett, he may well be in pole position to make his Test debut at the Gabba.

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • October 3rd 2013 @ 6:14am
      zatoo77 said | October 3rd 2013 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      Well written article. Ballance scares me his first class record is miles above the rest. I really worry’s me that Australia will probably pick someone that averages below 40 in first class cricket and England are picking someone who averages 50+. I guess our pitches are worse through

    • October 3rd 2013 @ 8:14am
      Nudge said | October 3rd 2013 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Plays a lot of first class cricket in Zimbabwe though zatoo impressive stats this year though

    • October 3rd 2013 @ 8:41am
      ChrisUK said | October 3rd 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      I guess the point about Carberry is that he’s been on the radar for ages, but not long after his debut he fell seriously ill with an embolism on his lungs. He not only bad to recover and win his place back, but he wasn’t even able to fly till very recently. So he’s not out of the blue; he was next cab off the rank a couple of years back. Sure, some prefer Compton, and that’s fair enough. Just saying Carberry isn’t out of the blue.

    • October 3rd 2013 @ 2:02pm
      Atko said | October 3rd 2013 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

      Gary Ballance – born in Zimbabwe
      Ben Stokes – born in New Zealand
      Boyd Rankin – born in Northern Ireland.

      How embarrassing.

      • October 3rd 2013 @ 2:21pm
        SammyH said | October 3rd 2013 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        Borrowed from one of Kersi’s articles a while back.

        Aussie players born overseas:

        ENGLAND (10): Charles Bannerman, John Hodges, Tom Kendall, William Midwinter, Percy McDonnell, William Cooper, Henry Musgrove, Hanson Carter, Tony Dell and Andrew Symonds.
        SCOTLAND (1): Archie Jackson.
        IRELAND (2): Tom Horan, Tom Kelly.
        SOUTH AFRICA (1): Kepler Wessels.
        NEW ZEALAND (3): Tom Groube, Clarrie Grimmett and Brendon Julian.
        INDIA (2): Bransby Cooper and Rex Sellers.
        SRI LANKA (1): Dav Whatmore.

        What’s your point?

        • October 3rd 2013 @ 5:02pm
          Atko said | October 3rd 2013 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

          Wow, is that all? England probably have that many overseas born players in their squad right now. #RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE

          • Columnist

            October 3rd 2013 @ 5:17pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | October 3rd 2013 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            SammyH it should be pointed out that only one of those players – Symonds – have represented Australia in the past 18 years.

            • October 3rd 2013 @ 5:22pm
              SammyH said | October 3rd 2013 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              Hi Ronan, indeed it should need pointing out. It’s not purely an English, or recent, phenomenon.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2013 @ 5:45pm
                JGK said | October 3rd 2013 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

                Anyone got any stats on England captains who weren’t born in England?

                Off the top of my head I can think of:

                Plum Warner
                Gubby Allen
                Ted Dexter
                Andrew Strauss
                KP
                Allan Lamb
                Tony Grieg
                Douglas Jardine
                Colin Cowdrey
                Nasser Hussain

                and if you include Scotland and Wales:

                Tony Lewis
                Mike Denness

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2013 @ 6:11pm
                JGK said | October 3rd 2013 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

                OK, I’ve looked up a couple more:

                Lord Harris
                Tim O’Brien
                Fred Fane
                Freddie Brown
                Donald Carr

                And incl Wales and Scotland:

                Cyril Walters

              • October 3rd 2013 @ 6:21pm
                Atko said | October 3rd 2013 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

                If we took them all away they might find it difficult to qualify as a Test playing nation.

              • October 3rd 2013 @ 6:59pm
                ChrisUK said | October 3rd 2013 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

                Not this again.

                One more time, your rugby team, Olympic team, boxers, tennis players, Prime Ministers, cricketers.

                You changed the law by Parliamentary act just to get a, leg spinner.

                Stop being so hypocritical.

              • October 3rd 2013 @ 7:35pm
                Nudge said | October 3rd 2013 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                Thanks for that jgk. 18 English captains that weren’t born in England. That is bloody unbelievable.

              • October 3rd 2013 @ 7:51pm
                Atko said | October 3rd 2013 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                Fantastic JGK. I am still looking forward to Australia vs Mercenaries this November though.

            • October 3rd 2013 @ 6:47pm
              MervUK said | October 3rd 2013 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

              Oh dear guys….it has already begun, get yor excuses in early. Tiresome.
              I, like chrisuk, wholeheartedly agree with carberry’s selection

              • October 4th 2013 @ 9:29am
                Dave said | October 4th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

                Same old Aussies, always whinging when they lose

      • October 3rd 2013 @ 6:44pm
        AK17 said | October 3rd 2013 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

        Northern Ireland is part of the UK and does not have a cricket team last time I checked. And from memory Ben Stokes moved to England when he was 3 years old!

        • Columnist

          October 4th 2013 @ 5:39pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | October 4th 2013 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

          Northern Ireland does have a cricket team…it is called “Ireland”.

          The Ireland cricket team represents both the south and north.

          Cricket Ireland oversees five provincial bodies, two of which are based in the north.

          Oh, and Stokes moved to England at age 12.

    • October 3rd 2013 @ 11:49pm
      Birdy said | October 3rd 2013 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

      You Aussies do make me laugh. ‘Nationality’ in the civilised world is normally based on a mixture of blood heritage and birth place. All the ‘Saffas’ in the England team you go on about have English blood in their veins through parents. If you want to see international sports teams full of people with no connection to a country through either blood or birth cast an eye over Aussie national teams. Even the cricket team has had Henriques and Khwaja in recent months. Ballance and Stokes have been in the UK since they were kids (same as Henriques and Khwaja have been in Australia) and Rankin is from Northern Ireland, which last time I looked was in the UK. Then,of course, we come to Fahad Ahmad. Tell you what guys; I’ll make a deal with you. The day England changes parliamentary processes and procedures just to get some bloke, who couldn’t have placed the country on a map 3 years ago, into an Ashes team, then you can bang on about nationality and not be laughed at.

      • Columnist

        October 4th 2013 @ 5:46pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 4th 2013 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

        What Ashes team was Fawad Ahmed in Birdy?

        And for the sake of accuracy here:

        – Balance moved to England aged 16 and Stokes aged 12.

        – Henriques moved to Aus when he was 1 and Khawaja when he was 3.

        So to state they all moved countries at roughly the same age is incorrect.

    • October 4th 2013 @ 10:42am
      DJW said | October 4th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      These days when a cricketer makes there debut for England they get a baggy blue and a copy of the words to god save the queen..

      Boyd and Ballance have already represented another country Ireland (Senior) and Zimbabwe (Under 18s) respectivly. Trott represented South Africa (Under 18s).

      So is the England cricket team or the Great Britan cricket team? =)

      • October 4th 2013 @ 4:59pm
        AlanKC said | October 4th 2013 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        Great Commonwealth Of Nations Cricket Team?

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