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WHO SHOULD ENGLAND TAKE TO AUSTRALIA?

We play selectors ahead of the Ashes tour...

We have spent arguably too much time deliberating over these. Five squads, only two have picked the same XI for Brisbane, not easy this selection lark.

Let us know your picks @TheCricketerMag...

The Analyst's Ashes Party, Simon Hughes, editor

Brisbane XI

1. Alastair Cook - Batting as well as ever after a demanding series against South Africa and should be in his element against the faster, bouncier Australia attack. A reassuring presence.

2. Mark Stoneman - Looks calm and assured at the crease and has a decent range of shots. Might have to cut out the back foot force against the new ball. Could do well.

3. Keaton Jennings - I prefer a third opener in Aussie who can handle the higher bounce and the tall Jennings should be able to and will prefer that to Philander’s wobbly floaters.

4. Joe Root - Probably the best batsman England have ever produced. How he handles the extra pace in Australia will either prove or question that.

5. Dawid Malan - Thought he did enough in the summer to warrant a longer stay. Like Jennings, tall and seems to have time and composure against quick bowling though possibly vulnerable to a fast Yorker.

6. Ben Stokes - An intimidating presence at the crease and a batsman who increasingly constructs intelligent innings. Not a good starter against spin though. Bowling is developing and fielding is outstanding. Second name on the team sheet. 

7. Jonny Bairstow - Busy, high-energy batsman who just needs to take his time and make sure he bats like a No.5 (which he is really) and not a No.7. Has kept superbly this summer.

8. Moeen Ali - A blissful timer of the ball and real danger man at No.8. Should be left to bat his way. Bowling is now genuinely good, but susceptible to too much expectation. Aussies will undoubtedly try to undermine him. 

9. Chris Woakes - A reliable and penetrative third seamer (provided he operates in the 85mph+ region) who may be opening the bowling by the end of the series, and best No.9 in the world. 

10. Stuart Broad - Goes from innocuous to devastating in 20 minutes. Needs to take more wickets with the new ball. Will probably find it hard going in Oz. 

11. James Anderson - Touched perfection with some of his spells this summer and his Test bowling average is now at its lowest since 2003. Will have to strike in early overs with the Kookaburra and then be saved for second new ball.

Squad members

Toby Roland-Jones - steady operator, knows his game. Might bowl well in Brisbane and Perth. Hopefully the precautionary scans on his back and side reveal nothing serious.

Mark Wood - England will need his extra pace and explosiveness at some point. But can he get fit?

Gary Ballance - the best option as the spare utility batsman but not convincing against high pace.

Jake Ball - I like his easy action, slippery pace and good control. May ultimately take over from Broad.

Jos Buttler - still got X factor and he would be a decent option if Bairstow were injured. 

Mason Crane - we have to invest in his talent as there are not a lot of other options.  

Jennings averaged 15.87 against South Africa

Huw Turbervill, managing editor

Brisbane XI

1. Alastair Cook – His experience will be essential.

2. Haseeb Hameed – Let’s back him this time.

3. Mark Stoneman – Has done enough, looks solid and organised.

4. Joe Root – Generally had a good summer as skipper, and very good with the bat.

5. Dawid Malan – Has just about done enough with two gritty 60s.

6. Ben Stokes – The go–to man, the one the Aussies will fear.

7. Jonny Bairstow - Well–established now, a top operator.

8. Moeen Ali – Much rests on him but it could be tough. Needs to tighten up strokeplay and bowling.

9. Mark Wood – England need his pace, but can he deliver?

10. Stuart Broad – Experience important, but can he recapture his spark after a so-so summer?

11. James Anderson – What a summer he’s had. He will be in good spirits but it will be tough work.

Squad members

Adil Rashid – Not sure what he did wrong. I’d take him but he won’t go.

Toby Roland-Jones – Can he cut the mustard in Australia after a good start in English conditions?

Tom Westley – Jury is out. James Vince may be worth another shot instead perhaps.

Ben Foakes – Great season, promising talent.

Chris Woakes – Mr. Utility but needs to get his zip back.

Hameed ready for a return?

James Coyne, assistant editor

Brisbane XI

1. Alastair Cook – As always, crucial to the outcome. Hard work should restore his slip catching.

2. Mark Stoneman – North-eastern grit (sorry for the stereotype). Looks like he might have what it takes.

3. Tom Westley – His on-sidey technique might not be such a problem if there isn’t quite the lateral movement we have in England.

4. Joe Root – England’s kingpin. Must choose the right time to play that trademark shot, though.

5. Dawid Malan – Has the determination, though Nathan Lyon will fancy a bowl at him.

6. Ben Stokes – All-round qualities could tip the balance in the entire series.

7. Jonny Bairstow – Another matchwinner, and a good enough keeper now to do the business in Australia.

8. Moeen Ali – The big imponderable: will the Aussies get after his bowling, and will their short stuff faze him while at the crease?

9. Toby Roland-Jones – Should get a bit more bounce at Brisbane and Perth. Could be England’s bolter.

10. Stuart Broad – Needs to recapture his best form, but will start the series.

11. James Anderson – The sultan of swing. How well he does could depend on the batch of Kookaburras he gets to bowl with.

Squad members

Haseeb Hameed – We know he has the gumption.

Alex Hales – Worth keeping him in reserve if England have to go for broke midway through the series.

Ben Foakes – Has kept wicket for the Lions in Australia, and you need a top gloveman in Australia. Buttler and Billings held back for the white-ball matches.

Chris Woakes – Could break into the starting XI if he proves he can swing the Kookaburra. Great team man, will be good on a gruelling tour.

Adil Rashid – Has only 10 Championship wickets all season, but are we really talking about pitching Mason Crane, aged 20, into a debut Test in the Ashes? Jack Leach uncapped too. I suspect Liam Dawson will be picked instead.

How will Westley go in Australia?

Owen Riley, social media manager

Brisbane XI

1. Alastair Cook – World-class operator. If England’s top-order trend continues, they may need another 766 from Cooky.

2. Mark Stoneman – Showed enough fight to open alongside Cook, has hit ground running on return to Surrey.

3. Tom Westley – Might he fare better over there? Not many lives left...

4. Joe Root – Knocking out fifties all over the place, not enough maturing into hundreds. If he wants to bat No.4, let him.

5. Dawid Malan – Yet to be convinced Malan has a long Test career ahead, made a reasonable case for selection though, let’s back him.

6. Ben Stokes – Can turn a match in a session, will have huge role to play with both bat and ball.

7. Jonny Bairstow – Much improved with the gloves, high-quality batsman coming in at No.7.

8. Moeen Ali – Brilliant against South Africa, how effective can he be with the ball against the Baggy Greens?

9. Toby Roland-Jones - Very impressive with 17 wickets at 19.64 in his debut Test summer, could add an unknown factor against the Aussies.

10. Stuart Broad – An odd summer, average in spells, severely let down by England’s fielding at others. Talked about saving his wickets for the Aussies...

11. James Anderson – As good as ever this summer, needs a strong showing in Australia to prove doubters wrong, he has a bowling average of 38.44 Down Under.

Squad members

Alex Hales – Been hitting astronomical heights for Notts in white-ball cricket and averages 47.11 in the Championship this summer. Whatever happens, it should be entertaining.

Haseeb Hameed – Lost his place through injury not form, starting to show signs of getting back to where he was last year, in at No.3 if Westley fails.

Chris Woakes – Had a great summer in 2016, needs to prove he is operating at 100% if he is to repalce TRJ.

Mason Crane - If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, somewhere down the line when he hits his stride, we can all reminisce about that time he got mullered by David Warner under a baking Aussie sun. Likely to be the water bearer.

Ben Foakes – Very highly rated by Alec Stewart, next in line for the wicketkeeper job, solid back-up for Bairstow.

Mark Wood – Pencilled in to provide the ‘x-factor’ in England’s bowling ranks but has had a low-key summer and injury remains an worry.

Hales' last Test came against Pakistan at The Oval in August 2016

Tom 'have I mentioned my international bowling average?' Gibbs, business development manager

Brisbane XI

1. Alastair Cook – Could need another big series down-under from the sweat-less maestro.

2. Mark Stoneman – Done enough, capable of scoring at a decent lick.

3. Joe Root - Going toe-to-toe with Steve Smith, aesthetics vs determination? Bat at No.3 Joe…

4. Sam Northeast – Averaged nearly 70 over the last two years, albeit in Division Two. Throw him straight in the deep end!

5. Dawid Malan – Not set the world alight, but has shown he can battle hard.

6. Ben Stokes – Big things expected. I would imagine just how he likes it.

7. Jonny Bairstow – Ideal position for him. Great at marshalling the tail.

8. Moeen Ali – Game-changer on his day. Let’s hope we see a few!

9. Chris Woakes – Toss-up between him and TRJ. Hopefully gets the ball moving around.

10. Stuart Broad – Height and bounce will be crucial when it isn’t swinging.

11. James Anderson – New 500 club member. No.1 in Test rankings.

Squad members

Jack Leach – Probably won’t play, but has done enough to be in with a shout.

Craig Overton – Pace and bounce. Only Porter has taken more Division One wickets among the seamers.

Toby Roland-Jones – Performed admirably all summer. Will go either way with him and Woakes.

Ben Foakes – Able batting replacement for Bairstow and a great gloveman.

Haseeb Hameed – Jumping on the HH bandwagon.

A Division Two powerhouse, should Northeast be in the England squad?