Just over a week since winning their maiden cricket World Cup, England will be back into the longer format. The country, which is the only one to have played over 1,000 Test matches, will play Ireland in a one-off Test at Lord’s starting Wednesday and then take on Australia in the Ashes starting August 1.
A number of former cricketers from both sides have already started picking their best playing XIs for the big series. For the first time in the 142-year-old history of the Ashes that England will be playing their arch-rivals as reigning world champions. Former England captain Nasser Hussain also chipped in with his playing XI for the first Test which will be played in Birmingham and also mark the inauguration of the ICC World Test Championship.
The Chennai-born former cricketer, however, surprised many with his decision to keep Jofra Archer out of the squad. He sought limited-overs opener Jason Roy to bat at No.4 or 5. Roy got his maiden Test call following an impressive performance with the bat in the recent World Cup. Hussain also felt that Test captain Joe Root should bat at No. 3 and Roy pushed down the order to adjust with red-ball cricket.
Joe Root at No.3, Roy at No.5
“I would go with a different top three. I would bat Joe Root at three and look to have Roy coming in at four or five. There is a difference between red-ball and white-ball cricket and Alastair Cook has said the red Dukes ball has done more in England over the last couple of years than at any time in his career,” the Daily Mail quoted Hussain as saying.
“I have no problem with Roy opening because everyone wants to bat in the middle order and Root doesn’t want to move from four. There is no doubting Roy’s ability and he could well come off.”
Hussain, who led England to 17 wins in 45 Tests that he captained in 1999-2003, also made another interesting move. He picked Jonny Bairstow as the side’s wicket-keeper instead of Jos Buttler.
Hussain though expressed his reservations over-scheduling an England-Ireland Test just ahead of the Ashes. He said he was worried about the players’ burnout and recalled the 2015 Ashes that had left Buttler exhausted.
Nasser Hussain’s England XI for first Ashes Test: Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
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