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Ben Stokes returns as England announce 12-member squad for first Ashes Test at Brisbane

Ben Stokes formally makes a comeback for the first Test with his name present there in the 12-member list. However, James Anderson has been benched.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 7 December 2021 1:30 pm

England have announced their 12-member squad for the first Ashes Test set to commence at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8. Earlier, captain Joe Root had refused to reveal his plans but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced the 12-member contingent on the eve of the match.

Ben Stokes formally makes a comeback for the first Test with his name present there in the 12-member list. The star all-rounder had taken a break to prioritise his mental well-being and is all set to return to the Playing XI on Wednesday. However, fast bowler James Anderson has been benched for this fixture.

Despite Anderson not getting a game in the series opener, the ECB has insisted that he does not have an injury and it is only part of the 39-year-old pacer’s workload management.

It was already being speculated that the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests would not play all the five-Test matches on the trot with he himself saying that perhaps three of those five games could be a realistic aim to achieve. The rest will obviously be down to how many overs he bowls and how his body responds.

Plan is to get Anderson ready for the second Test in Adelaide: ECB

“Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury,” an ECB statement said. “With five Tests in six weeks the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide,” the statement added.

“With the limited build-up we have had so far on the tour, both him and the management didn’t want to take the risk of him playing after what had happened in 2019 at Edgbaston, when he broke down on the first morning,” ECB’s statement further read.

“Anderson bowled at full capacity yesterday for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically. He will do the same again today at practice. He will stay with the Test group this week. And work with the coaches at the Gabba rather than playing for the Lions,” ECB said.

Despite the 12-member squad being announced by the England team, it has been conveyed that the final Playing XI will be confirmed at the toss by skipper Root.

England’s 12-member squad for first Ashes Test at Brisbane: Joe Root (c), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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