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Stokes, Vince and Ballance named in England’s Ashes squad

The Guardian logo The Guardian 27/09/2017 Guardian sport
Gary Ballance is set for a fourth run in the England side after being called into the Ashes squad. © Getty Images Gary Ballance is set for a fourth run in the England side after being called into the Ashes squad.

James Vince and Gary Ballance have been named in England’s Ashes squad with Tom Westley missing out. The uncapped Craig Overton, Ben Foakes and Mason Crane are also part of the the party for the five-Test series in Australia that begins in Brisbane on 23 November.

Ben Stokes retains his place despite his arrest in Bristol on Monday morning.

Vince is recalled 12 months after a run of seven Tests during which he averaged just 19 in the two series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This season has brought 596 championship runs at 34 but the 26-year-old has been backed for the No3 position in the hope that his game is suited to the bouncy pitches of Australia.

Ballance had started the summer in the side – his third spell at international level – after a bumper beginning to the county campaign but broke his finger against South Africa in the second Test at Trent Bridge and was replaced by Westley. But the captain, Joe Root, and the selectors have kept faith with the left-hander, who will challenge Dawid Malan for the No5 position.

Injury concerns over Mark Wood and Toby Roland-Jones opened up two seam-bowling spots, with Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball and Overton coming in – the latter after taking 46 wickets at 22 for Somerset this year.

Surrey’s Foakes provides back up to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps while Crane, the 20-year-old Hampshire leg-spinner, slots in as support to Moeen Ali but could come into the side should conditions dictate.

“A tour of Australia is the ultimate test for our squad. We have provided Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss with a well-balanced squad with options in all areas,” said the national selector James Whitaker. “After a successful summer, having won the Test series against South Africa and West Indies, there is real competition for places and we have selected a squad that will work hard and compete against Australia, aiming to win the Ashes.

“Surrey’s Ben Foakes deserves his selection for the first time at this level. His glovework has been exemplary and he is regarded as a wicketkeeper of the highest quality. He has the ability to contribute with the bat scoring over 680 runs in the Championship this summer at an average of 45.33.

“Craig Overton, who like Foakes has come through the International Pathway, has been involved in the England set-up this summer with the Lions and the IT20 squad. He will now get his chance at Test level. We have been impressed with the way he has led Somerset’s attack over a long period of time. He has taken 43 Championship wickets this summer and will relish playing in Australian conditions.

“The selectors are backing James Vince to make an impact on his recall to the Test squad. He is a quality strokeplayer and we believe his game will suit the Australian pitches. His understanding of the England set-up will help him settle into the environment quickly and hit the ground running when we arrive in Perth next month.”

The former New Zealand seamer Shane Bond has been appointed fast bowling consultant for the first two Tests, while Paul Collingwood will also join the coaching staff. Kent’s head coach, Matt Walker, will assist during the T20 series.

England squad for 2017-18 Ashes

Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire),

Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Dawid Malan (Middlesex), Craig Overton (Somerset), Ben Stokes (Durham), Mark Stoneman (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

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