PAUL NEWMAN rates the 15 Englishmen out to regain the Ashes: Harry Brook is an all-format superstar and Jonny Bairstow takes back the gloves… but doubts remain over opener Zak Crawley
- Bairstow is crucial to England’s ‘Bazball’ philosophy ahead of its ultimate test
- Root is England’s most important batsman and been pivotal in Bazball era
- Brook is an all-format superstar but has suffered a dip in form at the IPL
Ben Stokes will lead England for the first time in an Ashes series this summer, with the hosts looking to regain the urn for the first time since 2015.
The first Test at Edgbaston begins on June 16, with England hoping to regain the Ashes after their 4-0 defeat in 2021/22 Down Under.
The action will then move to Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval.
England named a 15-man squad on Tuesday to face Ireland in a four-day Test at Lord’s, their final preparation for the series against Australia.
Mail Sport’s PAUL NEWMAN takes a look at the 15 Englishmen out to regain the urn.
Joe Root is England’s most important batsman and has played a pivotal role in the Bazball era
Zak Crawley 6/10
Retains the full faith of England as an impact player despite being the obvious man to make way for Jonny Bairstow. Summed up by his form for Kent this year — a brilliant 170 against Essex and 91 v Northants but also four single-figure scores.
Ben Duckett 7
Made the opener’s position his own by playing the Bazball way and making a hundred and four half-centuries since returning for the first time since 2016. Will be making his first home Test appearances but still a little concern about his vulnerability outside off-stump.
Ollie Pope 7.5
Has risen to the challenge at No 3 and now officially vice-captain, meaning he is a Ben Stokes dodgy left knee away from captaining England in the Ashes. Can still be frenetic and has a much better record in the first innings of Tests.
Joe Root 9
Still the most important England batsman and has scored the most runs and faced the most balls of anyone since the start of the Bazball era last year. But he averages 38.8 against Australia — compared to 53.8 against all other sides — and has not scored a hundred against the old enemy since 2015.
Harry Brook 9
What an introduction to Test cricket and what an all-format superstar he has already become. But despite scoring a hundred for Sunrisers Hyderabad early in the IPL, he has now been dropped after a run of low scores. Needs to come home to prepare properly for the Ashes.
Ben Stokes 9
The captain hasn’t played for Chennai Super Kings since his self-inflicted toe injury. Left out by his IPL franchise recently despite regaining fitness. He is adamant he will be able to fulfil his role as fourth seamer in the Ashes despite a chronic knee problem.
Harry Brook (above) is an all-format superstar but has suffered a dip in form at the IPL
Jonny Bairstow 9
Made it clear how he saw his route back into the England side when he took the gloves for Yorkshire on his comeback against Glamorgan. Bairstow (right) has now kept for more than 200 overs this season and, while he hasn’t made a significant score yet, there are no concerns about his batting.
Ollie Robinson 8.5
Brilliant rise to the top after such a difficult start in Test cricket. It is no exaggeration to say Robinson could be England’s most important bowler in the Ashes, as he demonstrated with 14 wickets for Sussex against Worcestershire, displaying Glenn McGrath-like accuracy and potency.
Stuart Broad 8
Hasn’t pulled up any trees for Notts so far this season but not a concern. Broad remains a hugely important figure, is just 24 wickets away from 600 in Tests and is talking a great game, telling Mail Sport the last Ashes should have been void. Write him off at your peril.
Jack Leach 7
Stokes has got more out of the left-arm spinner than anyone could have imagined and he is a certainty to start the Ashes whatever the conditions. Suspicion remains he is a little short of the highest standard and Aussies will go after him — but Stokes will insist he attacks.
Jimmy Anderson 9
What an impressive start to the season the peerless Anderson has made again and how we panicked when it emerged he injured his groin playing for Lancashire against Somerset. Word is he will be fine and, despite turning 41 during the Ashes, is guaranteed to make an impact.
Chris Woakes 7
Easy to underestimate but exceptional in English conditions. Woakes turned his back on the IPL to put himself in the Ashes frame and is the one England bowler capable of big runs in the lower middle order.
Mark Wood 8
More important than ever as the only bowler of extreme pace still standing after injuries to Jofra Archer and Olly Stone. Missed games in the IPL through illness and has returned home to be at the birth of his second child. Might be wrapped in cotton wool during Ireland Test.
Paceman Ollie Robinson (above) could be England’s most important bowler in the Ashes
Matthew Potts 7.5
Unlucky to lose his place because of the emergence of Robinson after an impressive start to Test cricket and has hit the ground running this season with 24 wickets so far for Durham. Injuries have increased his chances of playing his part.
Dan Lawrence 7
Impressed Stokes with his selfless attitude in the Caribbean before injury forced him out of the side and let Pope back in. Went to New Zealand but didn’t play a Test. Now officially the spare batter and can be guaranteed to play in a Bazball style if given the chance.
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