Penpix of Australia’s Ashes squad

HOW AUSTRALIA’S 17-MAN SQUAD SHAPE UP FOR THE ASHES

CHRIS ROGERS

Age: 37

Tests: 20

Ashes Tests: 10

Playing role: Left-handed batsman

Test batting average: 39.35

Ashes batting average: 43.68

Nobody in the squad has more experience in English conditions. The veteran’s farewell tour hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far – he was concussed in the Caribbean and missed both Tests there, then was embroiled in a ticket saga.

DAVID WARNER

Age: 28

Tests: 38

Ashes Tests: 8

Playing role: Left-handed batsman

Test batting average: 46.82

Ashes batting average: 44.06

Has turned his life around after clocking Joe Root in the infamous scrap at Birmingham’s Walkabout bar that preceded the 2013 Ashes. Capable of turning a Test in a single session.

STEVE SMITH

Age: 26

Tests: 28

Ashes Tests: 13

Playing role: Right-handed batsman

Test batting average: 56.23

Ashes batting average: 37.77

The best Test batsman in the world according to the International Cricket Council’s rankings. Posted tons in five of his past six Tests and also reached three figures in Australia’s opening tour game.

MICHAEL CLARKE

Age: 34

Tests: 110

Ashes Tests: 30

Playing role: Right-handed batsman

Test batting average: 50.66

Ashes batting average: 44.87

Failed to register a big score during the West Indies tour, but at his best is the classiest batsman in the side. Well placed to become the first captain to win an Ashes series in England since Steve Waugh in 2001.

ADAM VOGES

Age: 35

Tests: 2

Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-handed batsman

Test batting average: 167.00

Ashes batting average: N/A

Battled through 160 first-class fixtures – plenty in England – before being awarded a baggy green in the West Indies. Scored 130 to earn man-of-the-match honours on Test debut and could easily establish himself in the side this tour.

SHANE WATSON

Age: 34

Tests: 58

Ashes Tests: 18

Playing role: Right-handed allrounder

Test batting average: 35.40

Test bowling average: 33.05

Ashes batting average: 43.57

Ashes bowling average: 63.66

The divisive allrounder was demoted down the order in the West Indies and failed to fire. Mitch Marsh will ensure the pressure stays on, but Watson has plenty to offer including a lot of experience in English conditions.

BRAD HADDIN

Age: 37

Tests: 65

Ashes Tests: 19

Playing role: Wicketkeeper

Test batting average: 33.37

Ashes batting average: 43.12

It’s the fourth – and final – Ashes tour for the chirpy gloveman. Was one of Australia’s brightest stars in the 2013-14 series, scoring 493 runs to break the record for most runs by a No.7 batsman in any Test series.

MITCHELL JOHNSON

Age: 33

Tests: 66

Ashes Tests: 14

Playing role: Left-arm fast

Test bowling average: 27.58

Ashes bowling average: 23.91

Demoralised England with 37 wickets in the 2013-14 series. Won’t receive quite as much assistance from local pitches, but the left-armer’s pace is up and he looks well placed to banish the demons of an awful 2009 tour.

MITCHELL STARC

Age: 25

Tests: 17

Ashes Tests: 3

Playing role: Left-arm fast

Test bowling average: 32.20

Ashes bowling average: 32.45

Was dropped from the Test side a staggering 11 times prior to the World Cup. Starc’s confidence has soared after dominating the one-day tournament and there is no better stage to show he belongs at cricket’s highest level.

JOSH HAZLEWOOD

Age: 24

Tests: 5

Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-arm fast-medium

Test bowling average: 19.08

Ashes bowling average: N/A

Man of the series in Australia’s recent 2-0 thumping of the West Indies, but amazingly faces a battle to keep his place in the XI given the return of Ryan Harris. English conditions should suit his bowling.

NATHAN LYON

Age: 27

Tests: 41

Ashes Tests: 8

Playing role: Right-arm offbreak

Test bowling average: 34.73

Ashes bowling average: 30.75

Australia’s most prolific offspinner has come a long way since being dropped for Ashton Agar at the start of the 2013 Ashes in England. Will be buoyed by predictions of docile pitches – and the number of left-handers expected to play for England.

RYAN HARRIS

Age: 35

Tests: 27

Ashes Tests: 12

Playing role: Right-arm fast

Test bowling average: 23.52

Ashes bowling average: 20.63

A heart as big as Phar Lap, although if the bullocking paceman was a racehorse he would have been put down years ago due to a degenerative right knee. Well rested after skipping the West Indies tour due to the birth of his first child, but will need to show selectors he is match fit.

PETER SIDDLE

Age: 30

Tests: 56

Ashes Tests: 20

Playing role: Right-arm fast-medium

Test bowling average: 30.45

Ashes bowling average: 30.19

Has suffered due to the recent rise of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, but bowled well in Australia’s opening tour game. Nonetheless, the Victorian isn’t expected to play unless one of his fellow pacemen is injured.

FAWAD AHMED

Age: 33

Tests: 0

Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Legspinner

Test bowling average: N/A

Ashes bowling average: N/A

Barring any dustbowl pitches, the Pakistan-born tweaker looks set to remain on the sidelines this tour. Failed to fire in Australia’s opening game against Kent.

PETER NEVILL

Age: 29

Tests: 0

Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Wicketkeeper

Test batting average: N/A

Ashes batting average: N/A

Has been earmarked as Australia’s next Test keeper and is learning plenty from Brad Haddin. Must be ready to fill in at any moment – as was the case in 2009 when Graham Manou replaced Haddin moments before the Edgbaston Test.

SHAUN MARSH

Age: 31

Tests: 14

Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Left-handed batsman

Test batting average: 35.79

Ashes batting average: N/A

Will be somewhat unlucky if he is squeezed out of the Test XI after a fluent century in the opening tour game. Can bat throughout the top order and opened against the West Indies recently in the absence of concussed Chris Rogers.

MITCH MARSH

Age: 23

Tests: 4

Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-handed allrounder

Test batting average: 37.42

Test bowling average: 164.00

Ashes batting average: N/A

Ashes bowling average: N/A

A swashbuckling batsman who is also capable of producing more measured knocks, plus some overs when needed. Locked in a tight battle with Shane Watson for the allrounder’s berth, but regardless of what happens this tour the future looks bright.

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