Ashes call for uncapped trio

  • Last Updated: September 24 2013, 7:26 BST

Uncapped trio Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes and Boyd Rankin are in England's 17-man squad for this winter's Ashes series.

Gary Ballance: Named in England's Ashes squad
Gary Ballance: Named in England's Ashes squad

Alongside the new trio, opener Michael Carberry, spinner Monty Panesar and pace bowler Chris Tremlett have all been recalled.

There is no place for Somerset opener Nick Compton or Durham seamer Graham Onions, while the fitness of Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan will continue to be assessed as he recovers from a stress fracture of the back.

Durham all-rounder Stokes, 22, and in particular Warwickshire paceman Rankin, impressed in the recent one-day series against Australia but National Selector Geoff Miller stressed that county performances were also crucial.

Regarding Rankin, 29, he said: "It's not just the one-day performances, he's performed very well for Warwickshire.

"That was why he got his selection for the one-dayers and he showed what he can do.

"He's a very difficult person to bat against so I think in Australian conditions he'll be very, very difficult for them and a threat for us."

Yorkshire batsman Ballance's international experience extends to a two-ball duck in a Twenty20 international against Ireland but Miller insisted at a press conference in the Lord's Long Room: "There are no left-field selections.

"He's played very well for Yorkshire so it's not a left-field selection, it's considered."

He appeared to suggest, though, that Stokes was less likely to play an immediate role.

"It's not just about picking the side," he said. "You obviously pick players to win the series but we have to think about the future as well, the immediate future and a bit further on.

"He's proved over the last year or so that he's developing his game rapidly, he's an exciting prospect.

"He comes into the squad to feel the atmosphere and we know he's capable of doing a job for us in the all-rounder position."

Panesar has not played for his country since a well-publicised incident with bouncers at a Brighton nightclub but has been recalled after a spell on loan at Essex.

Panesar was allowed to leave Sussex after being fined by police for urinating on bouncers after being thrown out of the nightclub on August 5.

But Miller is confident the left-armer is back on the right track and said: "There's a very strong management in that side to help all aspects of it.

"He's appreciated he's made errors and he's very sure that those errors are behind him now.

"He appreciated the reason why he was sent home, accepted that and knuckled down. He's been selected because that's been rectified.

"He's an experienced international player and it's up to him to actually produce the goods for us. He's very prepared to let his bowling do the talking for him, so I'm prepared to accept that."

Zimbabwe-born Ballance, 23, admitted he was shocked to have been called up.

"I wasn't expecting it and I was surprised when I got the call. I am looking forward to it. It will be a great lifetime experience," he said.

"It will be an honour to represent England at the highest level and it will be extra special in an Ashes Series. It will be a little daunting playing with some of the best players in the world but I know that I'll be made welcome.

"I've spoken to Joe (Root), Jonny (Bairstow) and Tim (Bresnan) about the England set-up and they speak highly of the dressing room. It is very much like a club environment where everyone works hard for each other with one common goal of winning."

Bowler Onions, who has taken 66 wickets this season and played a major part in Durham winning the LV= County Championship Division One title tweeted hios reaction to being overlooked: "Disappointed is a understatement, absolutely gutted. I know I can be immensely proud of my efforts & what Ive achieved this yr,I pride myself on my county performances & will keep doing that."

In the battle to provide back-up to first-choice openers Alastair Cook and Joe Root, England opted for Carberry over Compton.

Compton made two centuries in his nine Test appearances before losing his place in the squad following a disappointing series against New Zealand earlier this year, with Root promoted up the order.

Compton, 30, was back amongst the runs this summer after returning to Somerset but that was not enough to earn him an England recall, with 32-year-old Hampshire left-hander Carberry, whose sole Test appearance came against Bangladesh in 2010, getting the nod.

Miller said it had been a difficult decision but they wanted to try to cover all bases.

"It's a selector's decision and what we've wanted is to give us as many options as we possibly can, hence the number of 17. So every option for whatever conditions," he said.

"There are obviously injuries that can happen on a tour, so to make sure that it's covered completely we needed 17 and so we've covered that and he (Carberry) has deserved his selection."

Asked what Compton had done wrong and what more he could have done to be brought back in, Miller said: "He's done partly what he needed to do, it's a difficult decision obviously.

"There are lots of players who are up for selection and don't quite make it, and they are difficult decisions but ones that selectors have to make.

"He was disappointed when I talked to him and explained the situation, disappointed not to be selected, but we can only select the ones that we think are right.

"He's not out of the picture, the door's not closed on him, which he's been made aware of."

Ballance and Root's Yorkshire colleague Jonny Bairstow keeps his place in the squad with Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen - whose next Test appearance will be his 100th - completing the batting options.

Rankin faces competition from Steven Finn and Chris Tremlett for a place alongside frontline pace duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with Bresnan travelling with the squad but not selected.

Graeme Swann is the likely first-choice spinner ahead of Panesar, while wicketkeeper Matt Prior is present as vice-captain.

Skipper Cook will lead a squad looking to win a fourth Ashes series in a row, a feat that has not been achieved by an England team since 1890.

England Ashes squad: AN Cook (Essex, Captain), MJ Prior (Sussex, Vice Captain), JM Anderson (Lancashire), JM Bairstow (Yorkshire), GS Ballance (Yorkshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), MA Carberry (Hampshire), ST Finn (Middlesex), MS Panesar (Sussex), KP Pietersen (Surrey), WB Rankin (Warwickshire), JE Root (Yorkshire), BA Stokes (Durham), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), CT Tremlett (Surrey), IJL Trott (Warwickshire).

England Performance Programme Squad: MM Ali (Worcestershire), DR Briggs (Hampshire), JC Buttler (Somerset), V Chopra (Warwickshire), BT Foakes (Essex), JAR Harris (Middlesex), CJ Jordan (Sussex), SC Kerrigan (Lancashire), AZ Lees (Yorkshire), TS Mills (Essex), J Overton (Somerset)*, SD Robson (Middlesex), RJW Topley (Essex), JM Vince (Hampshire), DJ Willey (Northamptonshire), MA Wood (Durham)*.

*Will not travel to Australia

England's itinerary for 2013-14 Ashes tour of Australia:

October 25 - England arrive in Australia

October 31-November 2 - Three-day warm-up v Western Australia, WACA, Perth

November 6-9 - Four-day warm-up v Australia A, Blundstone Arena, Hobart

November 13-16 - Four-day warm-up v New South Wales XI, Sydney Cricket Ground

November 21-25 - First Test, The Gabba, Brisbane

November 29-30 - Two-day warm-up v Chairman's XI, Traeger Park, Alice Springs

December 5-9 - Second Test, Adelaide Oval

December 13-17 - Third Test, WACA, Perth

December 26-30 - Fourth Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground

January 3-7 - 5th Test, Sydney Cricket Ground

January 12 - First one-day international, Melbourne Cricket Ground

January 17: Second ODI, The Gabba, Brisbane

January 19: Third ODI, Sydney Cricket Ground

January 24: Fourth ODI, WACA, Perth

January 26: Fifth ODI, Adelaide Oval

January 29: First Twenty20 international, Blundstone Arena, Hobart

January 31: Second T20I, Melbourne Cricket Ground

February 2: Third T20I, Stadium Australia, Sydney


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