England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB ) selectors have announced a 13-member squad for the first Investec Ashes Test against Australia scheduled to start from 8 July at Cardiff.
Though England are likely to retain the same squad that played the last Test match against the Black Caps last month, two new players, Adil Rashid and Steven Finn, have been added.
It was just a couple of days ago that former England skipper Michael Vaughan was speaking about including Adil Rashid into the squad and it seems ECB and its selectors have also been thinking likewise.
Rashid has played good all-round cricket during the ODI series against New Zealand and Vaughan had already said earlier that England should surprise Australia with Rashid, since the visitors would be expecting to play Moeen Ali (who has also been named in the 13-member squad for the first Test).
"Adil Rashid's inclusion provides Alastair and Trevor with plenty of bowling options and the surface at Cardiff will dictate who makes the final XI. Within the squad there are players who have plenty of experience of Ashes cricket and that knowledge will I'm sure be useful for the players who are yet to experience a home Ashes series.
"There has been some very good cricket played so far this summer and we are aware that we will need to build on that over the next seven weeks if we are to win back the Ashes. On behalf of the selectors I'd like to congratulate the 13 players selected for the first Investec Test and wish them as well as Trevor all the very best for what will I'm sure be a very competitive and entertaining series," England's national selector James Whitaker said in an interview to Espn Cricinfo.
Rashid was not included in the 14-member training squad for Ashes (the training took place in Spain). If both Rashid and Ali are included in the playing XI of the first Test, then it could well be a blessing in disguise for skipper Alastair Cook. But in that case, both the players will have to be managed carefully or else they might go for plenty of runs.
Here is the England squad for the first Test of the Ashes 2015 against Australia:
Alastair Cook (C), Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson, Adil Rashid, Steven Finn.