England’s Harry Brook can appreciate the appeal of a lucrative life as a T20 specialist but insists nothing will ever compare to the feeling of living out his Ashes dreams.

On Friday, Brook will fulfil a lifelong ambition when he takes the field against Australia in the first Test, a goal he has chased since he first started hitting balls as an infant.

Brook’s love of the sport comes from his upbringing in a devoted cricketing family from Burley-in-Wharfedale and, although he recently banked a cool £1.3million for a two-month stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, he is clear where he feels the real riches are.

“This is absolutely a childhood dream. My dad always says as soon as I could talk I said that I wanted to play for England and here we are,” said the 24-year-old after a lengthy net session at Edgbaston.

“My dad and my two uncles and my grandad all played at my local club. It all stemmed from there really.

“I was growing up watching the very best players from England and Australia facing each other. Obviously the 2005 Ashes was a big one.

“I can always remember the over (Andrew) Flintoff bowled to (Ricky) Ponting and KP (Kevin Pietersen) smacking it everywhere against Warne and McGrath, those boys.

“You can understand why people don’t want to play Test cricket because there’s so many franchise competitions out there and there’s so much money you can get.

“It’s like being a footballer – you don’t play for five days, you get three months at home – but for me Test cricket is the pinnacle. The best players play Test cricket and the best players perform in Test cricket.”

Brook went from emerging prospect to one of the hottest properties on the planet over the winter, named player of the series during a historic whitewash over Pakistan after reeling off a hat-trick of hundreds in Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi.

He followed with another in Mount Maunganui and, despite a disappointing IPL that saw one century among a string of low scores, the 24-year-old heads into his first meeting with Australia boasting a formidable record in the Test arena.

It is hard to say which is more eye-catching, his average of 81.80 or a strike-rate of 99.03, but combined they hint at a rare talent who is riding the crest of a wave.

Australia’s attack, by common consensus, represents a step up in intensity. So too the wider fanfare and scrutiny that comes with the Ashes platform.

But Brook retains a refreshingly unaffected view of his own role and is eager to throw himself into the challenge.

“The Australians might have a little bit of extra pace, but if they bowl quicker it tends to go to the boundary quicker,” he said with a grin.

“I’m just looking to play the ball and I’m not really bothered who’s bowling at me. It’s the same old ball coming down. Obviously, they’re good but it’s just another cricket ball coming at me.

“I’ve always wanted to play against the best players in the world and see how good I really am.”

His success as a stand-in for Jonny Bairstow forced England into a selection dilemma when the latter returned from a broken leg. In the end, Bairstow returned at the expense of wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.

Retaining the number five slot, the same position his fellow Yorkshireman had just enjoyed a career-best run of form prior to his injury, was a major show of faith in Brook and also a relief.

Some had advocated moving him up to the top of the order to accommodate Bairstow and Foakes, but his previous experiences at the head of the innings in county cricket left him wary about the prospect.

“There was obviously a lot of talk about me going up to opening the batting but thank God I’m not doing that. They never asked thankfully,” he said.

“Obviously it gives me a lot of confidence knowing I’m going to be batting five and they’ve backed me batting there.

“I feel like I’m more part of the team now, obviously as a deputy you don’t quite feel like you’re meant to be there if you know what I mean. So to have been contributing and gain a few match winning performances this winter has meant the world and I feel a big part of the team now.”

The Ageas Bowl will host an Ashes Test for the first time during the 2027 series.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced its venues to host men’s and women’s international cricket over a seven-year period between 2025 and 2031.

Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl was included on the list of grounds to be used for the 2027 Ashes, with Headingley and Emirates Old Trafford set to miss out for that five-match series.

Headingley and Emirates Old Trafford will return as venues for the 2031 Ashes series alongside Lord’s, Kia Oval and Trent Bridge.

Meanwhile, England Women will play at Lord’s during each year of this seven-year international schedule.

The Ashes Test for the women’s multi-format series in 2027 will be hosted by Headingley, while the Ageas Bowl will be used for the 2031 series.

Edgbaston will also remain the home of Vitality Blast Finals Day for the next eight years.

“Allocations have been announced for seven years, rather than the previous five-year period, to give venues greater certainty and to encourage sustainable investment in facilities,” an ECB statement read.

“For the first time, the same process has been used for allocating men’s and women’s international matches, over the same period.”

England have named uncapped Western Storm duo Lauren Filer and Danielle Gibson in their 15-player group for next week’s Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

Jon Lewis’ side begin their quest to win back the Ashes for the first time since 2014 with a five-day Test against Australia from June 22.

Twelve members of the group have featured for England before in red-ball cricket, but Filer and Gibson, alongside Alice Capsey, are now vying to earn their Test debuts.

All-rounder Gibson travelled as a reserve to the T20 World Cup in February and has had a fine season with recent half-centuries for the Storm in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

Seamer Filer has claimed eight wickets in four Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy matches in 2023 and could feature in a warm-up fixture against Australia A at Derbyshire from Thursday.

England have also named their A-squad for a three-day warm-up game with Australia at Leicestershire from Thursday and Danni Wyatt and Alice Davidson-Richards, who are both part of the 15-player Test group, are included.

Lewis said: “We are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting Ashes series.

“We are fortunate that our talent pool is growing fast, this has enabled us to pick a nicely balanced squad.

“Dani (Gibson) is one of the form cricketers in the country, she is improving both with bat and ball and if selected in the team, offers us a dynamic cricketer who can change the momentum of the game.

“Lauren is a genuine wicket-taking threat with good pace and swing. Again, if selected in the playing 11, she offers us a point of difference in our bowling attack that could impact a Test match at any point in the game.

“Our preparations are going well and this week’s upcoming games against Australia A and Australia give us another great opportunity to rehearse for the Test match next week.

“To have two Ashes series running alongside each other is very special and we look forward to entertaining our fans and gaining some new ones along the way.”

England Test squad to face Australia: H Knight (captain), N Sciver-Brunt (vice-captain), T Beaumont, L Bell, A Capsey, K Cross, A Davidson-Richards, S Dunkley, S Ecclestone, L Filer, D Gibson, A Jones, E Lamb, I Wong, D Wyatt.

England A squad to face Australia in warm-up: L Winfield-Hill (captain), C Dean (vice-captain), M Bouchier, A Davidson-Richards, F Davies, S Glenn, K Gordon, E Gray, B Heath, E Jones, P Scholfield, G Scrivens, D Wyatt.

Ten years on from his career-best Ashes summer of 2013, Ian Bell has tipped Harry Brook to prove he can be England’s latest middle-order “match-winner” against Australia.

Bell won the urn on five separate occasions as a player, peaking a decade ago when he was named man of the series during England’s 3-0 success on home soil.

He hit centuries in each of his side’s victories, with matching knocks of 109 at Lord’s and Trent Bridge followed by 113 at Chester-le-Street, and topped the scoring charts with 562 runs.

Bell moved up and down the batting order during his 118-cap career but his golden summer came at number five, the position Brook has made his own over the course of a prolific winter.

The Yorkshireman already has four hundreds from his first seven Tests – averaging 81.80 – and Bell is confident he has a game that will hold up to the heat of Ashes cricket.

“In terms of ability and talent there’s no doubt, Harry is a match-winner in his own right and he’s proved it already,” Bell told the PA news agency.

“He has a wonderful technique, which is the first and most important thing. Yes, he has an array of attacking shots and he can be very aggressive, but when you look at his movements and technical game, he is absolutely sound.

“It’s the same thing with Joe Root, who is our best player.

“If Australia are going to hit you with the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland, you are going to need a solid technique to stand up to that – then you can add the flair shots.

“I’ve done a bit of coaching with Harry and he is someone who works extremely hard. I really think we’ve got a serious player for the next 10 to 15 years.”

Bell’s work with Brook came 18 months ago during their time together at Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash League.

It proved a tough trip for Brook, who scored only 44 runs in seven innings, but within months he was churning out big scores in the Pakistan Super League and on the cusp of a dominant season of county cricket that propelled him into the Test arena.

“His numbers weren’t stacking up that well at the time but I remember talking to Harry and telling him that I saw a player who wasn’t a million miles away from England,” Bell recalled.

“I knew he was closer to being a Test player than he maybe thought and that he just needed to put the numbers together.

“He went away to the PSL, did brilliantly, hit the ground running when he came back to Yorkshire and he’s never looked back.”

If Brook comes close to the impact Bell had in 2013, England would be more than satisfied. Now 41 and working as a batting coach with Derbyshire, Bell talks fondly of his series-long hot streak against the Baggy Greens.

“I look back and think myself lucky to have won five Ashes out of seven, that’s a nice record to have, but to say you’ve won the Miller-Compton medal and been player of the series is just perfect,” he said.

“It all just came together but to have scored my hundreds when we were winning games is the best part. It was a great time and a dream come true as a kid growing up watching England take on Australia.”

Eoin Morgan hailed the authenticity of Ben Stokes and believes the England captain is sincere about following through with a win-at-any-cost mentality in every Test against Australia.

Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum have transformed the Test side’s fortunes with 11 wins in 13 matches but a long-awaited Ashes showdown starting next week could challenge their aggressive approach.

However, Stokes demonstrated in New Zealand in February he is prepared to risk defeat to pursue victory and the all-rounder is adamant that will not change despite the stakes being considerably higher this summer.

And Morgan doubts there is any bluffing from Stokes, who has insisted that he would declare even if England were 2-1 up and 300 ahead with seven wickets in hand going into the last day of the final Test.

The former England white-ball skipper, speaking in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, told the PA news agency: “I don’t believe anything Ben says is for show.

“He is a man of his word, he is very authentic, you can tell it speaks volumes both on and off the field and it rings clear in the changing room, so it should be no different for anybody in the public.

“When you have a leader like that, it’s great because there’s just clear, transparent direction in where you’re going and what you want to achieve.

“A draw isn’t the task, they want to win, their eyes are on the prize and he seems to get more out of his own players that way.”

Morgan lifted England’s white-ball sides out of the doldrums to 50-over World Cup glory in 2019 – and among his team-mates was Stokes, who took charge of a Test side that had won just once in 17 matches.

While there might be some parallels in their captaincy arcs, Morgan feels that is where the similarities end.

Morgan said: “I see shades of the trend and journey that he’s going through but ultimately he’s his own leader – and he should be.

“For the best part of four or five years, England were terrible at Test match cricket, they tried fighting and being dogged, defensive and playing the long game, and that just doesn’t work. I can imagine the cornerstone of Ben’s thinking is ‘we’re not going back to playing that way’.

“You need to be as authentic as you can as a leader, particularly around the group simply because you ask everybody else to be authentic and if you’re not, people tend to notice it at various stages.”

Morgan was renowned for his shrewd thinking under intense pressure but even he draws a blank when asked how he would attempt to negate England under Stokes and McCullum.

He said: “When they get going, it’s a captain’s nightmare so I suppose stopping them getting going would be the biggest challenge. I’m not even sure how you do that. I wouldn’t put myself through it!”

Stokes, though, could meet his match in opposite number Pat Cummins, according to Morgan, who played alongside and captained the paceman at Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Morgan added: “Pat’s captaincy has been exceptional. I would hold him in the same regard as I hold Ben Stokes’ leadership. He is a very cool, calm customer and very intelligent for a fast bowler.

“He’s completely bucked the trend. An important part of captaincy is taking in what’s happening in the game and taking in opinions from others – that is incredibly difficult to do when you’re charging in for upwards of 20 overs per day, giving your all physically and mentally in the bowling innings.

“He has managed to find a balance. Clearly, he’s making good decisions and being able to bowl very well at the same time.”

:: Every match of the men’s and women’s Ashes will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports and NOW from 16th June.

England captain Ben Stokes has told his team-mates to enter the Ashes without fear.

England host their old rivals this summer, with the first Test getting under way at Edgbaston on June 16, having won just one of the last five series against Australia.

Stokes has led his team to victory in 11 of his 13 Tests since he was installed as permanent skipper at the start of last summer.

He and coach Brendon McCullum have overseen a change of approach in preparation for an attempt to regain the Ashes urn for the first time since 2015, following their 4-1 drubbing Down Under in 2021/22.

“It’s not like any other series,” Stokes wrote for the Players’ Tribune.

“There’s the pressure, the hype and the extra noise that comes with it, but we’re ready for all that this summer.

“We’ve had some good results in the last year and the mindset in the group is so strong. Everyone is fully committed to what we’re doing.

“We know how good we are and that on our good days we can beat anyone on their good days.”

Stokes, 32, who hit an unbeaten 135 as England battled back to chase down 359 and beat Australia in a memorable meeting at Headingley in 2019, wants the team to go into the latest series unburdened by any pressure.

“I promise you: We’re going to play without fear,” he added.

“We want to create an environment where everyone has the freedom to try things without fear. I know it hasn’t always been that way, even though we’ve always had the ability.

“Hold nothing back. Express yourself. Show us what you can really do.

“And you know what? If you fail, then you fail. So what? As captain, I’m not going to be chewing people out in press conferences or in the media for trying to play a big shot.

“And behind the scenes, you’re not gonna get a slap on the wrist from me or Brendon McCullum about it.

“I don’t want this to be taken out of context. Just because I say it’s alright to fail, it doesn’t mean I’m fine with losing. I hate losing.”

Steve Smith invited England to try and make ‘Bazball’ pay off in the Ashes after Australia bowlers took control of the World Test Championship final against India, declaring: “they haven’t come up against us yet”.

England have spent the last year establishing themselves as the most daring red-ball team around, scoring at a frantic rate against New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan and notching 11 wins from 13 games under Ben Stokes’ captaincy.

One by one they have lined up to take aim at England’s ultra-attacking approach, but Stokes and company have yet to take their foot off the throttle.

Australia clearly fancy their chances of breaking the streak and Smith saw no reason to doubt his side’s attack after they put the squeeze on India on day two at the Oval.

Seamers Pat Cummins, Scott Boland, Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green each took a wicket, as did spinner Nathan Lyon, with India closing day two on 151 for five – 318 adrift.

Asked if England’s preferred style would be a success against that bowling pack, Smith said: “I think I said it initially when ‘Bazball’ started that I’m intrigued to see how it goes against our bowlers. I’ve said that all along.

“I think it’d be difficult on this kind of wicket – up and down and seaming around – it’s not easy to defend, let alone come out and swing.

“They’ve obviously done well against some other attacks, but they haven’t come up against us yet. So, we’ll see.

“It’s obviously been exciting to watch. I must say I’ve enjoyed watching the way they’ve played and the way that I guess they’ve turned things around in the last 12 months or so, but it’s yeah we’ll wait and see how it comes off against us.”

Smith played a significant role of his own in putting Australia firmly in charge in London, taking his tally of Test centuries to 31. He spent just over five-and-a-half hours compiling 121, sharing a stand of 285 with the more expansive Travis Head (163).

Smith has now scored seven hundreds in English conditions, amassing 774 runs in the 2019 Ashes at a staggering average of 110.57.

“It was nice to spend a lot of time out there against some good bowlers on a challenging wicket after getting sent in. I’ll take a lot of confidence out of that and hopefully can keep building and have a successful summer here,” he said.

“I think in terms of English wickets it’s probably as close to Australia as you get. I’ve enjoyed playing here and it was nice to score a few out here again.”

Moeen Ali has answered England’s Ashes call, reversing his retirement from Test cricket for one last mission against Australia.

England’s plans for the series were derailed by a stress fracture to first-choice spinner Jack Leach but Moeen has agreed to return to red-ball cricket for the first time in almost two years to fill the breach.

The 35-year-old was invited to join the squad at the start of the week and, after taking a couple of days to ponder his decision, has now agreed to join up with the team.

England did have other options, including 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed, who became England’s youngest Test cricketer when he debuted in Karachi in December, and Surrey’s Will Jacks but none with the experience and credentials of Moeen.

He has 64 Test caps, 195 wickets and the small matter of five Test centuries. With Jonny Bairstow slotting back into the side at number seven following his return from a broken leg, Moeen is likely to bat at eight and give the home side a seriously dangerous lower order.

The Ashes begins at Moeen’s home ground of Edgbaston on July 16, with the all-rounder due to turn 36 on day three.

Rob Key, England’s managing director of men’s cricket, was involved in discussions alongside head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes and explained: “We reached out to Mo early this week about returning to Test cricket. Having had a couple of days to reflect, Mo is excited to join the squad and play Test cricket again.

“His vast experience, along with his all-round ability, will benefit our Ashes campaign. We wish Mo and the rest of the squad well for the Ashes campaign.”

McCullum previously tried to tempt Moeen back into the fray for the historic tour of Pakistan but, after initially declaring himself open to the idea, Moeen ultimately decided to stick to limited-overs cricket.

Speaking at the time, Moeen concluded: “I want to enjoy my cricket and it wouldn’t be fair to reverse my decision and then struggle to give it my all. It’s time to close the door on that side of my career. To play 64 Tests for England has been a privilege and a dream fulfilled.”

He has now been persuaded to take the field again, warming to the idea of turning out for Stokes and McCullum. They have overhauled the way England play the game, prioritising an attacking, proactive style that fits Moeen’s own approach like a glove.

Australia have proved thorny opponents for Moeen in the past, with his career bowling average climbing from 36.66 to 64.65 in Ashes cricket, but he is ready to embrace unfinished business against England’s biggest rivals.

He will need to get back to grips with the red Dukes ball after dedicating himself to the white-ball formats since September 2021, and will work alongside spin coach Jeetan Patel in the run-up to the series opener in Birmingham.

England find themselves without a first-choice spinner just days away from the start of the Ashes, after Jack Leach was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the lower back.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the runners and riders to step into the Somerset man’s shoes.

Rehan Ahmed

Became England’s youngest ever Test debutant when he was thrust into the spotlight against Pakistan in December. Aged just 18 and 126 days when he took the field in Karachi, he claimed five for 48 in the second innings and two more in the first. Has impressed more with the bat than the ball for Leicestershire in this season’s LV= Insurance County Championship, with only six wickets in as many games at an average of 54.16.

Moeen Ali

A long shot, but one for the romantics. Moeen, 35, has bundles of experience in England whites, with 195 Test wickets and plenty of memorable moments. Currently retired from red-ball cricket, which appears a reasonable stumbling block, but Brendon McCullum was close to tempting him back in Pakistan last winter and might be tempted to reopen discussions over one last mission.

Will Jacks

Another debutant in Pakistan, the Surrey man is still known best for his aggressive batting and top-order exploits against the white ball. Yet, he will be an attractive option for  McCullum and Ben Stokes given his attacking approach to the game. His off-breaks have impressed head coach Gareth Batty, himself a former England spinner, and he would be an explosive lower-order option with the bat.

Dom Bess

Knows the ropes with 14 Test caps and 36 wickets, and made his name as Leach’s understudy at Taunton. Lost confidence during his last stint in the international set-up and there is a feeling his game has plateaued somewhat since moving to Yorkshire. Nine wickets in four Division Two outings this term.

Liam Dawson

A dependable character with more than 15 years of first-class experience. A regular England squad man across formats, but has just three Test appearances to his name. By no means a mystery spinner, but perhaps the closest like-for-like replacement for Leach. A solid left-armer who can hold an end and bowl lengthy spells, he could provide handy respite for the seam attack. An under-rated batter and fielder, too.

Jack Carson

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman is well thought of and on recent form must have inched ahead of fellow England Lions tourist Liam Patterson-White, who has struggled to make an impact for Nottinghamshire this summer. Dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara twice during a county select XI game against India in 2021 and later enjoyed a one-on-one session with the great Virat Kohli. Still raw.

Joe Root admitted he will relish the chance to deliver for England and focus purely on playing in his first Ashes series in eight years without the captaincy.

England made it 11 wins in 13 Tests under the leadership of skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum with a 10-wicket victory over Ireland at Lord’s on Saturday.

All eyes now turn to the Ashes opener on June 16 and Root, who was man of the series on home soil in 2015 with 460 runs, is excited after leading England during the last three red-ball battles with Australia.

“It’s going to be nice, yeah,” the Yorkshireman said.

“It’s going to be nice to just go and play the game and try and assist where I can for Ben and for the other guys around, play a slightly different senior role in the team.

“They’re always great fun to be a part of, these big games, big series. They’re the ones you want to stand up and play well and it’s just an opportunity to do that again.

“I think my batting has been fine for a while, but mentally to be able to just turn up and play and have fun, just chat batting with some of the younger guys.

“Obviously (I’ll) try and help out where I can but Ben knows what he’s doing.

“He’s got enough behind him now to give himself the encouragement and confidence to make those big calls on his own, as you’d expect him to anyway. He’s doing a far better job than I did.”

The majority of England’s team were also part of the 4-0 defeat Down Under in 2021, but opener Ben Duckett and Harry Brook are set to experience their first taste of Ashes cricket at Edgbaston.

Asked what advice he could give them, Root was unable to play down the life-changing aspect of beating Australia with this upcoming series generating a similar level of excitement to the memorable 2005 instalment.

Root said: “Most importantly is not to over-egg it and that’s probably one of the things that you have to keep in mind.

“There will be a lot more attention, there will be a lot more noise, there will be a lot more hype around it. There will be people that might not normally be interested in cricket very interested in cricket for five or six weeks.

“It’s the same game. As soon as the bowler lets go of it, it’s you against the ball. Just go and play as you’ve been playing for the last 12 months and when it goes well, enjoy everything that comes with it.

“If you’re successful in Ashes cricket it can set you up for life really, not just the rest of your career but beyond it. It’s an opportunity to go and make history and hopefully have an incredible two months of it as a group.”

Root’s own preparation for this monumental series had been far from ideal before his 56 against Ireland.

The Yorkshire batter decided against playing County Championship cricket during April and May after he secured a first Indian Premier League contract, but Rajasthan Royals only selected him on three occasions and he batted just once in the tournament.

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old was philosophical about his experience in India.


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“Championship cricket is the bedrock of our domestic game and I am not trying to bag it with what I say here,” Root explained.

“I am not saying it’s not important or a good standard. For where I am in my career, am I going to learn more about myself in that environment?

“Am I really going to be prepared better for an Ashes series facing lower pace bowling on some nibbly wickets when hopefully we will play on good pitches against high pace and a high quality spinner? I don’t think so.

“By learning and experiencing something new, talking and discussing the game with greats like Kumar Sangakkara and Brian Lara, other players and ex-players about just batting in general, Test cricket, I thought that not just for the Ashes, but the rest of the year for me it would set me up best to perform well and get the best out of myself. I feel ready.”

England’s Ashes preparation has been rocked after spinner Jack Leach was ruled out of the series with a back stress fracture.

Leach claimed four scalps during England’s 10-wicket victory over Ireland at Lord’s this week, but developed low back symptoms during the match.

A subsequent scan on Sunday revealed a stress fracture in the lumbar region of the spine, which will rule him out of all five Ashes Tests.

“Spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the LV= Insurance men’s Ashes series with a low back (lumbar) stress fracture,” an England statement said.

“England will announce a replacement for the Ashes series in due course.”

Australia pace bowler Josh Hazlewood will miss the World Test Championship final against India at the Kia Oval – little more than a week before the Ashes begins.

Hazlewood has been managing an Achilles issue as well as a side injury that flared up during the recent Indian Premier League, but Cricket Australia insists the 32-year-old will be fit for the start of this summer’s showdown with England at Edgbaston on June 16.

“Josh was very, very close to being given the green light but we are cognisant that our upcoming schedule means this is not a one-off Test match for us,” Australia chair of selectors George Bailey told cricket.com.au.

“This will give Josh an ideal preparation leading into Edgbaston. With six Test matches in a little over seven weeks we will need all of our fast bowling assets.”

Hazlewood has played just four Tests in the past three years due to a series of injuries but shared a stint of new-ball bowling with five-day skipper Pat Cummins during the team’s preparation in England.

He returned early from his recent spell in the IPL due to a side issue, having been ruled out of the preceding Test campaign in India with a recurrence of the Achilles problem he sustained in the final five-day match of the Australia summer.

Speaking on Saturday about the close proximity of the India decider, which starts on Wednesday, and the first Ashes Test, Hazlewood said: “It’s probably one or the other for me at this stage.

“Just being over here for the last week and bowling in England, it does feel a lot easier on the body compared to Australia or India where it can be hot, the wickets are really hard and you’ve got to bend your back to get something out of them.

“In England it feels like you can just take that couple of per cent off, bowl a bit within yourself and the wicket does enough for you.”

Michael Neser has joined the official 15-man Australia party, but Scott Boland is likely to partner Cummins and Mitchell Starc at the Oval.

Neser, who has been training with the Australia squad alongside another reserve quick bowler Sean Abbott, has been playing for Glamorgan in the LV= County Championship and taken 19 wickets at 25.63.

Australia coach Andrew McDonald said the tight turnaround between the WTC final and the five-Test Ashes series has to be taken into account in managing their fast bowlers.

McDonald said: “Definitely consideration for (the schedule) – we don’t want to go too far ahead.

“We’ve got the WTC final to play, which we are excited about, but on the back of that we have to quickly turn our attention to England and the Ashes.

“There are short turnarounds there. That’s nothing we’re not used to.

“So, there’ll always be considerations around management. I’d say there’d be some moving parts amongst the quicks.”

England captain Ben Stokes has no concerns over his ability to bowl in this summer’s Ashes.

Stokes’ long-standing left knee issue caused him problems during February’s tour of New Zealand and his recent time at the Indian Premier League proved fruitless.

All-rounder Stokes played only twice for Chennai Super Kings and sent down just one over for 18 runs during his IPL stint but ahead of this week’s one-off Test with Ireland at Lord’s, the 31-year-old is confident he can have an impact when the Ashes begins on June 16.

He said: “Yeah, look the knee is in much better place than it was in Wellington.

“I’ve been over in India for the IPL and these last eight or nine weeks I know I have got myself in a position where I can’t say I regret anything.

“I have got myself into a place where I feel like in a 2019, 2020 space in terms of my own body and fitness. I have definitely given myself the best opportunity (to bowl this summer).

“We know what it is (the problem) and now it is about managing it.”

England head coach Brendon McCullum is confident James Anderson and Ollie Robinson will be fit for the first Ashes Test but has confirmed they will play no part against Ireland this week.

The five-match series against Australia begins on June 16 but England have fitness concerns over a number of their bowlers.

Robinson suffered an ankle issue for Sussex earlier this month and Anderson strained his groin while on Lancashire duty while injury-hit pair Jofra Archer and Olly Stone have experienced elbow and hamstring problems respectively already this summer.

England begin their eagerly anticipated summer with a four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s on Thursday and while two of their key bowlers will miss out, they should be fine for the Ashes opener at Edgbaston.

“Yeah we’ve got a couple of niggles so we’re just monitoring those at the moment. I guess every team that goes into a series has got a couple of little things that you need to work through, but pretty confident we’ll have a good squad to be able to pick from,” McCullum insisted.

On Robinson and Anderson, he added: “For the first Ashes Test, I think they should be fit.

“They won’t be fit for this one against Ireland. We’ll just have to monitor it over this next sort of while, but we’ve got some great options right throughout the squad.

“When I first took over this job, people said there wasn’t much depth in English cricket and I disagree with that completely.

“I think there is an immense amount of depth and we’ve got plenty of good options throughout the squad.”

Australia coach Andrew McDonald has thrown his support behind opener David Warner, tipping him for a “significant” role in this summer’s Ashes.

Warner, 36, has just one Test century in the past three-and-a-half years – a cathartic 200 against South Africa during the 2022 Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Three cheap dismissals and a fractured elbow during the subsequent tour of India invited speculation that his 103-cap career could be coming to a close, with the likes of Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris and Travis Head all options at the top of the order.

But he was named in Australia’s squad for next month’s World Test Championship final against India, as well as the first two Tests against England, and appears to have McDonald’s faith.

“We’re optimistic with what Dave’s got left,” McDonald told SEN Radio.

“We’ve picked him in the squad and we feel that he’s going to play a really significant part in the Ashes and the World Test Championship final.

“That’s why he’s on the plane. We think he’s got some good games left in him. He’s clearly in our plans.

“He knows exactly where he sits with us and internally we’re really settled around what we need to do and how we’re going to go about it.”

England bowler Stuart Broad said this week he was excited to renew his rivalry with the left-hander, having dismissed him seven times in 10 innings during a 2019 Ashes series that saw Warner average just 9.5.

McDonald prefers to focus on better days and is confident Warner can acquit himself well.

“In 2015, I think it was eight half-centuries and he averaged mid-40s. So, he’s had success there. It’s not as though he hasn’t had success in those conditions,” said McDonald.

“We’re backing him to draw on everything that he’s got. Leading into the Boxing Day Test the doomsday people were out there as well.”

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