England squad for the 1st Ashes test

The selectors have just named their squad of hungry, rampaging Lions for the first test. It’s the XI who played more like sausage dogs at Headingley, plus Steve Finn and flavour of the month Adil Rashid. I don’t expect either of the new guys to play, but it at least shows they’re in the selectors thoughts.

I’m quite pleased with Rashid’s inclusion, and suspect there’s an outside chance he might play alongside Moeen at Cardiff if the hot weather holds. I’m less pleased about Finn’s inclusion, and to be honest I’m a little mystified.

Finn just hasn’t looked the same since his ‘un-selectable’ period, and I think his action looks mechanical, unnatural and doesn’t utilise the full rotation of his arms. He also looks uncomfortable in his skin.

With Liam Plunkett injured, the selectors probably think they’re short of options. What a shame they don’t seem to believe in Mark Footitt.

Perhaps Footitt’s relatively poor showing in the championship against Cook’s Essex counted against him in the end. England’s skipper actually played in that game and would have seen the Derbyshire tearaway at close quarters.

Despite his great form in recent weeks, there’s no place for Jonny Barstow. Personally I think it’s right to keep faith with Gary Ballance for now – if only because it’s fun hearing One Test say his name over and over again.

However, I would like to see Bayliss reverse Moores’ rather odd experiment of batting Ballance at 3. I would play Bell at 3 (time to step up as the senior player, Ian) with Root 4 and Ballance 5. This is more in keeping with their county positions.

England Squad: Cook (capt), Lyth, Ballance, Bell, Root, Stokes, Buttler, Moeen Ali, Rashid, Broad, Wood, Anderson, Finn

We’d love to hear your thoughts folks. Pleased? Frustrated? Ambivalent?

James Morgan



  • Finn’s strength seems to be that he does take a crucial early wicket or two. An invaluable skill, but is it enough? Looking to those with more practical experience for the answer.

  • I’d ask Ballance, Bell and Root, in confidence, where they’d prefer to bat. If a natural order emerges from that, then I’d do whatever it is. If not, I’d stick with the current order for now. I agree Ballance didn’t look comfortable vs NZ at 3, but he’s made a lot of runs there, so I’d give him at least one more Test before shuffling. Also, Root has been fantastic at 5, so I’d be loathed to meddle. As for the additional squad members, I’d prefer to see Tredwell than Rashid, but only just…

    • Tredwell has a worse first class career bowling average (and Rashid is still improving), can’t bat, and is six years older.
      For once, the selectors got it right.

      • For me it was more about having a specialist spinner who can hold an end to let the quicks recover, and the fact that Tredwell has done well enough in his 2 Tests to deserve another go. Spinners tend to improve with age (as Rashid is), so being 33 doesn’t worry me. But like I said, a close call and I was just expressing my preference rather than making a bold statement about whether something was definitively right or wrong.

  • Interesting that Rashid is in the squad.

    I think there is scant chance of Cook (who seems allergic both to risk and to bowling spinners) either wanting him in the team or adequately utilising his skills if picked, but we’ll see.

    It’s notable that he bowled 31 overs in the second Durham innings at a less costly run rate than any of the seamers, which goes some way to demonstrating that he can hold down one end, whatever his critics might claim.

  • “I’m quite pleased with Rashid’s inclusion, and suspect there’s an outside chance he might play alongside Moeen at Cardiff if the hot weather holds”.

    I’ve read that it is thirty years since England played two spinners in a home Test and won (Edmonds and Emburey in 1985 presumably)

    • If it will happen anywhere, it’s possibly Cardiff in a heat wave! Or maybe not :-)

  • I wonder if the selection of Rashid may be political to stop any criticism after a decent ODI series. I would love to see him get the nod at Cardiff instead of Mo but I suspect they will go conservative and opt for Mo.
    The selection of Finn is nonsense. I agree with James that he is still a long long way from where he needs to be. He should be left along for at least a season to work with Middlesex and not have any eng squad distractions or other people getting in his head. It does make me suspicious that Footit was used as a net bowler?
    As for the middle order, I wouldn’t mind bell and Ballance swapping but I would keep Root well away from the new ball. He’s yet to convince he can cope with this and his runs at 5 will be crucial. Broad’s comments about Smith and reference to Root unfairly betrayed a lack of confidence here.

  • Interesting stuff Yorkie. I think you’re on to something re: Footitt.

  • Would love to see Rashid play but Cook doesn’t trust him so Moeen will keep his place. Not surprised Footitt hasn’t made the cut, wasn’t convinced by him anyway – struck me as a “we must have a left armer” selection regardless of how good he is, much as we used to do with all-rounders.

    Finn is more interesting. I agree he’s not yet anywhere near his best, but the selectors are keen to show him there is a way back for him into the Test side when he is. Whether selecting him in the 12/14 then omitting him from the final 11 is the right way to go about this is more questionable.

  • I thought Footitt was a lock? Could someone explain the logic of dropping him?


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