England has announced a 16-member squad for the initial two matches of the upcoming Ashes series, set to commence later this month. The team has decided to stick with the same group of 16 players who featured in the solitary Test against Ireland for the first two Ashes Tests. Josh Tongue, who made an impressive Test debut against Ireland, has managed to retain his place in the squad, despite the return of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who were previously ruled out of the Lord's Test.
England boasts a formidable pace attack, led by the experienced Anderson, who is expected to be fit for the first Test, and supported by Stuart Broad. Mark Wood, Matthew Potts, and Chris Woakes have also been included in the squad alongside Tongue. The bowling fitness of Ben Stokes remains uncertain, but head coach Brendon McCullum expressed optimism about his progress, stating that Stokes may be able to contribute with the ball at some point during the summer.
Jonny Bairstow, who made a comeback after a nine-month hiatus in the Ireland Test, will resume his wicketkeeping duties. Meanwhile, Zak Crawley, who displayed glimpses of returning to form with a half-century in the first innings at Lord's, retains his position as the opening batsman alongside Ben Duckett, who impressed with a brilliant 182 against Ireland. As a reserve batter, Dan Lawrence also secures his spot in the squad. England's primary challenge lies in selecting their pace attack for the first Test, as they have a number of options at their disposal.
England squad: Ben Stokes (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Jack Leach, Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Dan Lawrence, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Josh Tongue.
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