England recalled spinner Monty Panesar and fast-bowler Chris Tremlett in a 16-man squad for the Ashes cricket tour of Australia, starting in November.
Left-armer Panesar hasn’t played in a Test since his resolute batting helped secure a draw in the first Ashes match last year, when England went on to win the series 2-1.
He’s recovered from a dip in form, switching his county career from Northamptonshire to Sussex and taking 52 wickets this season at an average of 25.5. He’s played 39 Tests, taking 126 wickets at 34.4.
“We feel that, following an excellent season with Sussex, Monty Panesar deserves his opportunity to assume the role as England’s second spinner behind Graeme Swann,” national selector Geoff Miller said in a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Tremlett, who moved to Surrey from Hampshire this season, took 48 county wickets at an average of 20.2. He’s taken 13 wickets in his three Tests at an average of 29.7. He won the last of his Test caps against India in 2007.
“We feel that Chris Tremlett’s inclusion will add a real threat of pace and bounce to our bowling attack, given the conditions in Australia,” Miller added.
Surrey’s Steven Davies, named as England’s deputy wicketkeeper behind Sussex’s Matt Prior, is the only member of the squad uncapped at Test level.
England won the Ashes for the first time in 18 years in 2005 with a 2-1 home victory, then suffered the first 5-0 sweep in 86 years when the teams met in Australia in 2006-07. That was followed by the home success for England last year. The last time England won a series in Australia was 1986-87.
Australia is the 4-6 favorite with bookmaker Ladbrokes Plc to win the Ashes this time, meaning a successful six-pound ($9.42) bet would yield a four-pound profit. England is 9-4 and a drawn series 9-2.
“I firmly believe we have a number of match winners across all areas of the squad,” England captain Andrew Strauss said. “It’s exciting to have the Ashes as our sole focus from this point on, and I know every member of this Ashes squad will be relishing the challenge.”
The board also named a 16-man England Performance Program squad, which will be based in Australia until the start of the third Test. Four of the players, Michael Carberry, Craig Kieswetter, Ajmal Shahzad and James Tredwell, have played for the senior England side over the past year.
In addition, the cricket board said Jonathan Trott and Steven Finn have been awarded 12-month England central contracts.
The Ashes started when Australia beat England, its former colonial ruler, at the Oval in London in 1882. To symbolize the “death” of English cricket, the Sporting Times printed a mock obituary. A wooden bail from the match stumps was burnt, its ashes were taken to Australia and a replica of the 4-inch clay urn now goes to the victor of the series.
England Ashes squad: Andrew Strauss (Middlesex), Alastair Cook (Essex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Steven Davies (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Monty Panesar (Sussex), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Matt Prior (Sussex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Chris Tremlett (Surrey), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire).