Ashes 2015: England include Adil Rashid in 13-man squad


New head coach Trevor Bayliss said he wants England to “play with freedom” as he announced a 13-man squad for the opening Ashes Test against Australia.

Uncapped Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid, 27, has been selected despite not being part of England’s team-bonding trip to Spain.

Mark Footitt and Liam Plunkett, who is not fit, are not picked after going on that trip, but Steven Finn is recalled.

The first Test of the five-match series starts in Cardiff on Wednesday, 8 July.

Bayliss said Rashid is “in good form” and that he “spins the ball both ways and sometimes those guys are difficult to play”.

The Australian told BBC Sport he wanted to “create a good environment that lacks pressure” in the England camp and that he would be “just as competitive as anyone else” when facing his native country.

Rashid is one of five players in captain Alastair Cook’s squad – along with Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Adam Lyth and Mark Wood – who have not played in an Ashes series.

Ashes schedule

8-12 July: First Test, Cardiff

16-20 July: Second Test, Lord’s

29 July – 2 August: Third Test, Edgbaston

6-10 August: Fourth Test, Trent Bridge

20-24 August: Fifth Test, The Oval

Rashid toured the West Indies in the winter without being selected for any of the three Tests, but featured in England’s 3-2 one-day series win over New Zealand this summer.

Bayliss added: “There has been some good weather around and it looks like being a dry summer, so if we have Rashid there we have the option to play him.”

Rashid helped defending champions Yorkshire move to the top of County Championship Division One on Wednesday with victory over Durham, with the selectors keen for him to play in that match.

He said: “I was told to come and play and get some overs under my belt and see if I could get selected and that’s happened.

“It’s always a dream to play Test cricket for any youngster and especially to be part of an Ashes squad is a really exciting time. Hopefully I can do well.”

Finn is chosen ahead of fellow pace bowlers Plunkett and Footitt despite not playing a Test since he was dropped following the first Ashes Test in July 2013.

The Middlesex bowler returned home early from the 2013-14 Ashes tour after failing to make the team for any of the Tests.

Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell, 33, will be playing in his seventh consecutive Ashes as England, who drew their Test series against New Zealand 1-1 this summer, look to win back the urn after losing 5-0 in Australia in 2013-14.

National selector James Whitaker said: “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.

“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.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann, whose side are playing their final warm-up game against Essex at Chelmsford, said: “It’s pretty much as we thought it would be, so we’ll have to play well.

“They’ve got some quality players but we’ve got a lot of blokes who have played county cricket, so we know them.”

England squad for first Test: Alastair Cook (captain, Essex), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper, Lancashire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Joe Root (all Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Mark Wood (Durham).