England announces their XIV man strong Ashes squad for the 1st Ashes test , close on the heels of Australia’s announcement of their 17 member squad. The selectors had gone in with as many as 5 fast bowling options and just 1 specialist spinner. There is still an in injury cloud on Jimmy Anderson . If he fails to get fit in time, options may open up for both Jofra Archer, called up for his 1st test and Olly Stone , who bowled fast and impressively on his debut vs Ireland. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler are both back after their World Cup exploits and rest in Ireland test match with Stokes being the deputy to Joe Root. While Moeen Ali is the lone spinner, both Joe Denly and Joe Root can fill in on requirements with their brand of spin . Jack Leach , who became the man of the match in Ireland test match for his superb 92 opening the batting rather than for his spin bowling for which he was in the XI ,unfortunately has to make way for Jofra Archer. The best possible XI as per batting order could be: Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Denly, Root (c), Bairstow, Stokes (vc), Buttler (wk), Moeen, Woakes, Broad, Anderson ( assuming he will be fit). The rest 3 members completing the 14 are Archer, Olly Stone and Sam Curran . In case Anderson is not fit in time, Jofra Archer is expected to get in. The weak link in this team is the inexperienced top 3. Rory Burn’s technique was found out in Ireland game and both Roy and Denly are still feeling their way into test cricket. The Aussie pace attack will surely come hard at the inexperienced English top three. The middle order looks comparatively better but Bairstow needs to tighten up his defences. He looked extremely loose against Ireland resulting in bagging a pair. The bowling attack however looks well balanced and formidable for English conditions.
With both teams having an array of good fast bowling options and certain batting issues, it promises to be a gripping and may be a low scoring series.