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Kent Cricket's Zak Crawley named in 17-man England squad for Ashes series

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Zak Crawley has been selected in England's squad for this winter's Ashes.

It will be a first Ashes tour for the Kent batter, with England taking their strongest available squad Down Under.

Kent's Zak Crawley. Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent's Zak Crawley. Picture: Ady Kerry

Joe Root will captain the side with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler - one of 10 players in the squad never to have featured in an Ashes series before - named as vice-captain for the five-match series in England's 17-man squad.

It comes after Crawley, 23, was awarded a new England central contract last week.

The series will begin in Brisbane on December 8.

The England and Wales Cricket Board only announced on Friday the tour would go ahead following player concerns over Covid protocols.

"A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer. I'm delighted that all of our available players have committed to the tour," said England head coach Chris Silverwood.

"We are looking forward to touring and enjoying the experience of this historic series.

"This is why we play and coach - to be involved in iconic series like this.

"More than half of our squad haven't featured in an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace the cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world.

"I believe we have selected a well-balanced squad with options in all areas and a blend of youth and experience.

"There is real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete, aiming to create some history."

Players selected, who are part of England's T20 World Cup squad in the United Arab Emirates, will join the tour after their tournament commitments.

England last won an Ashes series in Australia in 2010/11 with England's Test specialists and the Lions squad set to depart, subject to conditions being granted, on Thursday, November 4.

Silverwood added: "We are under no illusions about how difficult the task is going to be. Australia have been strong at home in the past, and there is an expectation on them to win this series.

"However, from our point-of-view, there is genuine excitement and belief that we can do something special.

"Both teams are in similar positions in the Test world rankings. For that reason, it should be a compelling series.

"We can enjoy the build-up to the tour, get out there, and prepare well ahead of the first Test in Brisbane.

"Having the Lions with the Ashes squad will be integral to our build-up. The extended group of players will be with us before the first Test.

"We will play two competitive warm-up games amongst both squads to give us the match practice we need as part of our build-up.

"It's an excellent opportunity to connect the Lions into the England environment and gain a good understanding of what is required to play at the highest level."

Crawley this summer helped Kent Spitfires win the T20 Blast competition for the first time in 14 years at Edgbaston, as well as the Division 3 County Championship title.

For England, Crawley burst on the scene when he struck a maiden three-figure international score of 267 against Pakistan at The Ageas Bowl last August.

He has represented England 15 times at Test level and played three One-Day Internationals as well.

The most notable absentee from the squad is all-rounder Ben Stokes who is on an indefinite break to prioritise his mental health, although he has been told to pick up the phone when he feels ready to return.

England squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Dom Bess (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire) wk, Zak Crawley (Kent), Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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