Uncapped trio also set to make the trip as one bowler is “gutted” to be overlooked.
Controversial spinner Monty Panesar was given a chance to revive his England career after being named Monday in a 17-man squad for the forthcoming Ashes tour of Australia.
England also selected uncapped trio of Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance, Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and former Ireland seamer Boyd Rankin for a tour where they they will bid to win a fourth straight Ashes series against arch-rivals Australia — something they last achieved in the 19th Century.
Otherwise a squad again captained by Alastair Cook contained few surprises, with England again relying on the bulk of the side that completed a 3-0 home Ashes win over Australia last month.
Panesar has long been regarded as England’s second-best spinner behind off-break bowler Graeme Swann.
However, the 31-year-old Panesar, who has taken 164 Test wickets at 33.78, was fined by police for urinating in public after he was ejected from a Brighton nightclub on August 5 and then effectively sacked by south coast county Sussex.
He has though since played for Essex on loan while the woeful Test debut of Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan in the drawn final match of the recent Ashes series — which England won 3-0 — at The Oval in south London, strengthened Panesar’s case for a recall.
“He’s appreciated he’s made errors and he’s very sure that those errors are behind him now,” England national selector Geoff Miller, announcing the squad at a Lord’s press conference, said of Panesar.
“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.”
Both Rankin and Stokes impressed during the recent 2-1 one-day series loss to Australia but the 23-year-old Ballance, out for nought on his ODI debut against Ireland earlier this month, was given his chance on the back of consistent performances.
He has shone in the First Division of the County Championship where he has made 995 runs in 13 matches at an average of over 52 with three hundreds.
Turning to Rankin, who fits England’s preference for tall fast bowlers, Miller said: “He’s a very difficult person to bat against so I think in Australian conditions, he’ll be very difficult for them and a threat for us.”
Ballance could now challenge county colleague Jonny Bairstow for England’s problem No 6 position.
“There are no left-field selections,” former England off-spinner Miller said of Ballance. “He’s played very well for Yorkshire so it’s not a left-field selection, it’s considered.”
As for Stokes, Miller said: “He’s proved over the last year or so that he’s developing his game rapidly, he’s an exciting prospect.
All three of the uncapped Test trio were born overseas, with Ballance growing up in Zimbabwe before coming to county side Derbyshire as a 16-year-old while Stokes is the New Zealand-born son of a former Kiwi rugby league international, although he grew up in Cumbria, northern England.
Hampshire’s Michael Carberry was chosen ahead of Somerset’s Nick Compton as an extra batsman with Stokes displacing all-rounder Chris Woakes, who played in the Ashes finale at The Oval.
Meanwhile Surrey fast bowler Chris Tremlett, who impressed during England’s 3-1 2010/11 Ashes win in Australia, was given one of the seam bowling slots in preference to Graham Onions, who has been a mainstay of county champions Durham’s attack this season.
Disappointed is a understatement, absolutely gutted
— Graham Onions (@BunnyOnions) September 23, 2013
Yorkshire pace-bowling all-rounder Tim Bresnan was not part of the official party but is set to travel with the squad to Australia as he continues his recovery from the back injury that saw him ruled out of the fifth Test.
Monday also saw England name a ‘shadow’ performance programme squad containing Sydney-born but England-qualified batsman Sam Robson, who has impressed for Lord’s based Middlesex in recent seasons.
The England Test squad is due to arrive in Perth on October 25, with the first Ashes match set to start at Brisbane’s Gabba ground on November 21.