'Classy' England captain praised for role during Ashes debacle

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Joe Root (pictured) leading his team on to the field.
Joe Root (pictured) has been hailed for uniting the English squad ahead of their Ashes Tour in Australia. (Getty Images)

Joe Root has been praised for his role in uniting the England team ahead of their Ashes Tour to Australia.

England named a strong 17-man squad for the Ashes tour, with head coach Chris Silverwood leaning on familiar faces for the trip to Australia.

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The squad announcement puts an end to a long-running debacle over whether England would make the trip to Australia, due to frustration over the travel restrictions in place for Covid-19.

Silverwood and captain Root are unable to call on a full-strength group due to the continued hiatus of star all-rounder Ben Stokes and injuries to Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Sam Curran.

However, when Silverwood named the squad there wasn't any players that 'opted out' over Australia's travel restrictions.

And Silverwood put it down to Root's leadership during the difficult Covid-19 pandemic period.

"There were a lot of negotiations that went on and one thing we did see was a lot of class from our captain. He really did lead from the front," Silverwood said at the press conference.

"I can't emphasise enough how classy he was within those negotiations and the way he listened to both sides of the argument.

"He showed a lot of empathy and a lot of really good leadership skills to get the players to this point. His players have got behind him and will follow him, so will I and my staff.

"What it has done, I think, is galvanise his position as a leader. All the boys have recognised that, all my staff have recognised that and it has made us all pull in behind him."

England leave out uncapped Test stars

One of the biggest surprises was the no uncapped Test players selected in the Ashes squad.

That means potential 'wildcard' picks such as Lancashire trio Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson and Saqib Mahmood have all been overlooked but they can expect to form part of the Lions squad which will shadow the early stages of the tour and could yet be called upon.

While Stokes' absence has long been expected - he has already missed the India Test series, the resumption of the Indian Premier League and the T20 World Cup as he prioritises his mental health and recovery from a finger injury - fellow all-rounder Curran was a late withdrawal.

While Curran's bowling may not have been perfectly suited to Australian conditions, he could have offered balance and variety to the side in Stokes' absence.

However, the lower back injury which forced him out of the World Cup squad has now been diagnosed as a stress fracture requiring specialist treatment.

England's captain Joe Root (pictured) attends training.
England's captain Joe Root (pictured) has been praised for his leadership.

Announcing the squad, Silverwood said: "A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer.

"I am delighted that all of our available players have committed to the tour. We are looking forward to touring and enjoying the experience of this historic series.

"This is why we play and coach, to be involved in iconic series like this.

"More than half of our squad haven't featured in an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace the cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world.

"I believe we have selected a well-balanced squad with options in all areas and a blend of youth and experience.

"There is real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete, aiming to create some history.

"We are under no illusions about how difficult the task is going to be.

"Australia have been strong at home in the past, and there is an expectation on them to win this series. However, from our point of view, there is genuine excitement and belief that we can do something special."

England Ashes squad: 

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

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