• New spinner only surprise for England

    July 1, 2015
    Adil Rashid

    The inclusion of leg-spinner Adil Rashid was the only surprise when England announced their 13-man squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia.

    Rashid and Moeen Ali were both included in the new head coach Trevor Bayliss’s first squad as coach.

    Rashid was not part of the 14-man training squad that travelled to Spain for four days as part of a bonding trip with Bayliss, which was widely viewed as an indicator of the squad the hosts would choose to take on Australia at the Swalec stadium.

    The seamers Mark Footitt and Liam Plunkett, who did travel to Almería, both miss out, with England including the full XI that played in both Tests against New Zealand earlier in the summer, plus Rashid and the paceman Steven Finn.

    Rashid is the only player in the squad yet to make his bow at Test level although he bolstered his reputation in the recent one-day series against New Zealand, where he took eight wickets in five matches.

    His call-up leaves Moeen Ali’s position in the side under some scrutiny after the Worcestershire all-rounder under-performed in the Test series in the West Indies and against the Kiwis.

    National selector James Whitaker was keen to stress that the inclusion of both Moeen and Rashid was to give coach Bayliss and captain Alastair Cook plenty of options on what could be a turning pitch in south Wales.

    Meanwhile, fast bowler Ryan Harris is a serious doubt for next week’s first Ashes Test in Cardiff after being ruled out of Australia’s tour match against Essex at Chelmsford.

    Harris was named in the tourists’ team overnight for this four-day encounter but was replaced by Peter Siddle following a fitness test in the Essex nets on Wednesday morning.

    Harris’s long-standing knee injury had flared up again after he bowled 30 overs in the team’s opening tour match against Kent last week.

    Coming just a week before the first Test against England, Harris is now unlikely to start the series, especially as those overs against Kent were his first in senior cricket for six months.



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