Stuart Broad faces battle to pin down his England place for the Ashes

England will wrestle with the quandary of how many World Cup heroes they can afford to rest on Wednesday before they name a scratch squad for their inaugural Test against Ireland.
The selectors will meet in Canterbury on Wednesday as attention quickly switches from the sensational culmination of the white-ball season to the red-ball challenges that begin with an Ashes training camp this weekend and then the historic date with Ireland.
It looks certain that three members of what could be England's first-choice Ashes attack will all be missing, with Mark Wood's side injury likely to rule him out of at least the first Test against Australia as well as next week's four-day Test against Ireland at Lord's.
Jofra Archer, as revealed by Sportsmail
 on Tuesday, will head to Barbados for a week of rest and recuperation after the World Cup that changed his life and may also not be seen again until the second Ashes Test at Lord's.
And even though Jimmy Anderson is making good progress after his calf injury, it seems unlikely England will risk him against Ireland and instead will keep him with them at Lord's to carry on working on his fitness.
That means Stuart Broad, who suddenly faces a big threat to his Test place because of the emergence of Archer and the consistent pace of Wood, will get a chance against Ireland to prove he still has another big Ashes series in him.
Sam Curran, who made such a big impression last summer before struggling in overseas conditions, looks certain to join him after returning to form and fitness with England Lions against an Australia XI this week.
The big question is how many of the World Cup-winning team England allow to put their feet up after the huge physical and mental effort that culminated with Sunday's extraordinary triumph against New Zealand.
England are inclined to rest Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow but both insist they want to play even though the match will effectively be red-ball practice for the bigger battles against Australia that quickly follow. It is possible they will play just as batsmen, alongside Jos Buttler, with Ben Foakes taking the gloves and an extra seamer coming in to cover for Stokes.
What seems certain is that Jason Roy will make his Test debut even though he is said to be only 80 to 90 per cent fit following the hamstring injury that kept him out of three World Cup matches.
England can hardly throw a novice like Roy into an Ashes series against Mitchell Starc and co without any red-ball practice and the only other way he could gain any is if Surrey loan him to Gloucestershire or Worcestershire for their Championship match on July 21.
More likely is that Roy will be asked to bring his destructive white-ball game to the Test arena where he will line up with his Surrey team-mate and friend Rory Burns in yet another new opening partnership.
Joe Denly is the man in possession at No 3 and seems certain to stay there after a productive start to the county season, including a big hundred for Kent against Notts, even though captain Joe Root is known to retain faith in his Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance.
Not long ago it was believed Chris Woakes' knee problem might jeopardise his Test future, but he insists after his excellent World Cup that he is fit and raring to go against Ireland.
And Moeen Ali looks certain to play as the sole spinner ahead of Jack Leach, even though his star has certainly waned within an England camp that were dismayed by his listless World Cup batting before he lost his place to Liam Plunkett.
That leaves Ed Smith's selection panel to ponder the possibility of promoting one or two of the best young Lions products to compete for a place against Ireland and join the senior players at St George's Park on Saturday for their two-day training camp.
Somerset's Lewis Gregory is the best bet to edge out Jamie Porter and Jamie Overton for any seam bowling cover role with the bonus that he is a decent batsman, which might be crucial if Stokes is only to take a one-dimensional role.
Kent's exciting Zak Crawley and Warwickshire's Dominic Sibley could also feature in selectorial discussions on Wednesday but it is unlikely they will be promoted just yet.

No comments found