FP – Trevor Bayliss will get down to business in plotting Australia’s Ashes downfall next week not in the nets but with a four-day bonding camp in Spain.
England’s new coach hasn’t met most of his 14-man squad that will be aiming to reclaim the urn and the Australian – along with captain Alastair Cook and director of cricket Andrew Strauss – decided to go abroad to adjust.
The camp from June 27 means England will arrive back in the UK only a week out from the start of the first Test in Cardiff.
Michael Clarke’s team – who landed in London from the Caribbean on Wednesday – will acclimatise to English conditions with warm-up games against county sides Kent and Essex.
“With Trevor Bayliss arriving in the country next Thursday, Trevor, Alastair and I felt it important that both players and management likely to be involved in the early stages of the Ashes have a chance to meet him and fully understand his approach prior to meeting up for the start of the Test series,” said on Thursday.
“With that in mind, we have arranged a preparation camp in Spain,” the former Ashes-winning England captain added.
“This will involve a combination of physical and fielding sessions and planning meetings in an informal environment in order to provide the best possible lead up to the first Test in Cardiff.”
Uncapped Derbyshire left-arm paceman Mark Footitt has been included in England’s 14-man squad for the Spanish camp.
Footitt apart, the squad led by Cook is made up of players who have all featured at some stage during New Zealand’s tour of England.
The bulk of the party played in the 1-1 Test series draw with the Black Caps, while fast bowlers Steven Finn and Liam Plunkett have both featured in the ongoing one-day series with the World Cup finalists, which will be decided in game five on Saturday in Durham.
England suffered a 5-0 Test series defeat by Australia in 2013/14 when the Ashes were last up for grabs, with the fallout from that thrashing leading to the international exile of star batsman Kevin Pietersen.
However, Australia have not won the Ashes in England since 2001, with England triumphing on home soil in 2005, 2009 and 2013 against their oldest rivals.
“The squad for the first Test will be announced within a few of days of returning from the camp,” said Strauss.
One of Strauss’ first acts in his new role was to sack former England coach Peter Moores and bring in Bayliss, while appointing assistant coach Paul Farbrace to a caretaker position in the interim.
Under Farbrace, who was Bayliss’ deputy when the Australian was head coach of Sri Lanka, England drew the Test series with New Zealand and are all square at 2-2 in the one-dayers.
England pre-Ashes training camp squad:
Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Mark Footitt, Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood