Ashes 2015: England squad announced, Adil Rashid surprise inclusion for first Test against Australia

New head coach Trevor Bayliss drops a surprise inclusion

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The Independent Online

Uncapped leg-spinner Adil Rashid is the surprise inclusion in England's 13-man squad for the first Investec Ashes Test in Cardiff next week.

The Yorkshireman was not a part of the 14-man training squad that travelled to Spain for four days as part of a bonding trip with new head coach Trevor Bayliss, which was widely viewed as an indicator of the squad the hosts would choose to take on Australia at SSE Swalec.

Seamers Mark Footitt and Liam Plunkett, who did travel to Almeria, miss out, with England including the full XI that played in both Tests against New Zealand earlier in the summer, plus Rashid and paceman Steven Finn.

Rashid is the only player in the squad yet to make his bow at Test level although he bolstered his reputation in the recent one-day series against New Zealand, where he took eight wickets in five matches.

His call-up leaves Moeen Ali's position in the side under some scrutiny after the Worcestershire all-rounder under-performed in the Test series in the West Indies and against the Kiwis.

National selector James Whitaker was keen to stress that the inclusion of both Moeen and Rashid was to give coach Bayliss and captain Alastair Cook plenty of options on what could be a turning pitch in south Wales.

Whitaker said: "There are no huge surprises in the squad.

"Adil Rashid's inclusion provides Alastair and Trevor with plenty of bowling options and the surface at Cardiff will dictate who makes the final XI.

"Within the squad there are players who have plenty of experience of Ashes cricket and that knowledge will I'm sure be useful for the players who are yet to experience a home Ashes series.

"There has been some very good cricket played so far this summer and we are aware that we will need to build on that over the next seven weeks if we are to win back the Ashes."

Rashid was understandably thrilled to be included but revealed he would take it on the chin if he was not in the first XI next Wednesday.

"(I'm) delighted, over the moon. I'm very excited to be part of the Ashes squad and to be just part of the team so I'm really looking forward to it," he told Sky Sports News HQ.

"It's nice to be part of the squad and if I do get a head's up, I'll obviously try my best and if I don't, it's no drama. I'm still part of the squad and it's always a learning curve to be playing or not to play."

Rashid revealed he has not yet been in touch with Bayliss but is looking forward to working with the first Australian to be appointed head coach ofEngland.

"I haven't actually spoken to him yet, I got a little message from one of the selectors congratulating me, telling me I'm in the squad for the Ashes," he added.

"(Bayliss is a) different coach, positive coach, different mindset so I'm really looking forward to working alongside him and seeing what he's got to offer."

Bayliss was impressed with Rashid's performances against the Kiwis and is relieved they have the option to play two frontline spinners, should conditions prove conducive in Cardiff.

"I obviously watched a lot of the one-day series on the TV and he played very, very well so it does give us an option in being able to spin the ball both ways which is a good thing to have," Bayliss told Sky Sports News HQ.

"We want to give ourselves the option to play two spinners if we get down there and the conditions suit two spinners then we've got the option."

Finn also shone against the Black Caps in the limited overs matches although Bayliss confirmed the 26-year-old will be understudy to James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood.

"Certainly during the one-day series it looked like he was back on song and bowling well, he'll be there as a back-up to the guys that have come off a good series against New Zealand," said Bayliss.

"Just in case something happens to one of those guys we've got someone there ready to go."

The former Sri Lanka, New South Wales and Kolkata coach was quick to claim the training camp in Andalusia was a success.

"It was fantastic from my point of view to get to know the players, hopefully it was just as good for them getting to know me," he said.

"The boys worked hard, had some good meetings and the time went really quick which is a good thing, I think."

The much-travelled coach is unconcerned by his relative unfamiliarity with the team, adding: "I think anywhere you go, any team you do you've pretty much got the same 11 personalities in any team, just a different face and a different name, and it's very similar with this as well."

Much has been made about Bayliss' connections with many members of the touring Australians' party although the 52-year-old sought to play down any suggestions he could expose any technical flaws.

While Moeen, Gary Ballance, Jos Buttler, Adam Lyth, Rashid, Ben Stokes and Mark Wood are yet to play in a home Ashes series, Bayliss claims the rest ofEngland's squad will be well aware of how to approach the matches.

"The England team has got a number of guys that have played against the Australian guys a fair bit so I'm not sure I can add too much more to what they already know about the opposition, they know what to expect," he said.

Asked whether he feels they can win, he said: "If they play good cricket there'll be a good chance of winning, that's for sure.

"There's not much chance of winning if you don't play good cricket, but all the indications are that they're on song and looking forward to it very much.

"They've got some very good players in their team, a number of experienced players so they're going to be hard to beat but if we play some good cricket we'll give ourselves a very good chance."

Australia coach Darren Lehmann was not taken aback by England's team.

The tourists have not won a Test series in England since 2001 and Lehmann knows they will be given another stern test in the forthcoming weeks.

"It's pretty much as we thought it would be," he said. "They've got some options and they're a very good cricket team here so we'll have to play very well."

PA

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