England’s squad for Ashes tour has a familiar look about it

Chris Silverwood England head coach PA

England have named a 17-man squad for the this winter’s Ashes tour, with head coach Chris Silverwood leaning on familiar faces for the trip Down Under.

Silverwood and captain Joe Root are unable to call on a full-strength group due to the continued hiatus of star all-rounder Ben Stokes and injuries to Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Sam Curran but fears over players opting out due to concerns over Australia’s travel restrictions have not materialised.

Following successful discussions with Cricket Australia over arrangements for families and quarantine there have been no opt-outs.

As such the squad has a tried and trusted feel, with no uncapped Test players selected. That means potential ‘wildcard’ picks such as Lancashire trio Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson and Saqib Mahmood have all been overlooked but they can expect to form part of the Lions squad which will shadow the early stages of the tour and could yet be called upon.

While Stokes’ absence has long been expected – he has already missed the India Test series, the resumption of the Indian Premier League and the T20 World Cup as he prioritises his mental health and recovery from a finger injury – fellow all-rounder Curran was a late withdrawal.

While Curran’s bowling may not have been perfectly suited to Australian conditions, he could have offered balance and variety to the side in Stokes’ absence. However, the lower back injury which forced him out of the World Cup squad has now been diagnosed as a stress fracture requiring specialist treatment.