JAMES VINCE has been given the nod to bat at No3 in the Ashes – with three uncapped players in the squad.
And Ben Stokes will remain as England’s vice-captain Down Under for now, despite breaking his hand in a fight.
England have named their 16-man touring squad, with Stokes in it, despite the ECB confirming has a “minor fracture” in his hand.
Stokes was arrested for actual bodily harm outside a Bristol club in the early hours of Monday morning for allegedly punching someone in a glassing row.
And as SunSport told this morning, Essex’s Tom Westley has been dumped for classy Hampshire hitter Vince.
The squad includes three uncapped players – Somerset seamer Craig Overton, reserve wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and leg-spinner Mason Crane.
Overton gets the nod because England have decided not to risk Durham pace ace Mark Wood, who has been suffering with a heel injury.
All-rounder Stokes, arrested following a fracas in a Bristol street at 2.35am on Monday, has been included but his participation remains under a cloud.
Vince had a top score of just 42 in seven Tests last summer and the way he kept nicking catches into the slips was almost like groundhog day.
He has scored just two centuries for Hampshire during a modest summer in 2017.
ENGLAND’S ASHES SQUAD
Cook, Stoneman, Vince, Root (capt), Malan, Ballance, Stokes, Bairstow (wkt), Foakes (wkt), Moeen, Crane, Woakes, Broad, Anderson, Ball, C.Overton
But the selectors believe his technique could be suited to the bouncy pitches in Australia and the diet of quick bowling he will face.
Vince’s elegant style has often been compared to that of former England captain Michael Vaughan, who scored 633 runs in the Ashes series of 2002-03.
If Vince does half as well on this trip, his selection will be regarded as a triumph.
National selector James Whitaker said: “The selectors are backing James Vince to make an impact on his recall to the Test squad.
“He is a quality strokeplayer and we believe his game will suit the Australian pitches.
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“His understanding of the England set-up will help him settle into the environment quickly and hit the ground running when we arrive in Perth next month.
“Surrey’s Ben Foakes deserves his selection for the first time at this level.
“His glovework has been exemplary and he is regarded as a wicketkeeper of the highest quality. He has the ability to contribute with the bat scoring over 680 runs in the Championship this summer at an average of 45.33.
“Craig Overton, who like Foakes has come through the International Pathway, has been involved in the England set-up this summer with the Lions and the T20 squad.
“He will now get his chance at Test level. We have been impressed with the way he has led Somerset’s attack over a long period of time.
“He has taken 43 Championship wickets this summer and will relish playing in Australian conditions.”
Vince is pencilled in to bat at No.3 behind openers Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman and it will be a tough task because Australia have arguably the best seam attack in the world with the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
Westley scored a half-century on his debut against South Africa but his output faded as his bottom-hand technique was placed under the microscope.
Gary Ballance will contest the No.5 berth with Middlesex’s Dawid Malan while the likes of Alex Hales, Keaton Jennings, Sam Robson and Liam Livingstone miss out.
The selectors gave Wood every opportunity to prove his fitness because his extra pace makes him an X-factor bowler.
But they decided it was too much of a risk to take a player who is not 100 per cent fit.
Steven Finn took 8-79 for Middlesex against Lancashire last week but his form has not been good enough this summer to merit inclusion.
Finn was deemed “unselectable” by the management on England’s disastrous Ashes tour of 2013-14 and has never truly recorded his rhythm and confidence.
Overton is the twin of another Somerset seamer, Jamie Overton, and could come into consideration for the starting XI late in the five-Test series if England suffer injuries or decided to rest more senior bowlers.
Foakes is regarded by many as the best gloveman in county cricket and he can bat, too.
He is chosen ahead of Jos Buttler, now regarded by England as a white ball specialist.
Hampshire spinner Crane, 20, will play only if England are confronted by a turning pitch that necessitates two spinners. But the management like his positive attitude and is one for the future.
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