Rashid and Finn in England Ashes squad

Uncapped leg-spinner Adil Rashid and paceman Steven Finn have been called into a 13-man England squad announced for next week’s first Ashes Test against Australia in Cardiff.

The 27-year-old Rashid has played both one-day international and Twenty20 cricket, but not Tests, and took eight wickets while also performing well with the bat during England’s recent 3-2 50-over series win at home to World Cup finalists New Zealand.

Finn, 26, played the most recent of his 23 Tests in the 2013 Ashes opener at Trent Bridge but has worked his way back into the squad after suffering problems with his bowling action.

Rashid was not included in England’s 14-man pre-Ashes training camp in Spain, where most of the squad met with their new Australian coach Trevor Bayliss for the first time.

Quicks Liam Plunkett and Mark Footitt, who did make the trip, were not selected in a squad captained by Alastair Cook for the First Test at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens starting on July 8, where England will begin their bid to regain the Ashes following a 5-0 thrashing in Australia in 2013/14.

All the 11 England players who featured in both Tests during the 1-1 drawn series with New Zealand were included for the Ashes opener.

Rashid’s inclusion appeared to put pressure on off-spinner Moeen Ali’s place in the side but national selector James Whitaker said it was possible that England could field two specialist slow bowlers depending on the condition of the Sophia Gardens pitch.

“There are no huge surprises in the squad,” Whitaker said in a statement.

“Adil Rashid’s inclusion provides Alastair and Trevor with plenty of bowling options and the surface at Cardiff will dictate who makes the final XI.

“Within the squad there are players who have plenty of experience of Ashes cricket and that knowledge will I’m sure be useful for the players who are yet to experience a home Ashes series.

“There has been some very good cricket played so far this summer and we are aware that we will need to build on that over the next seven weeks if we are to win back the Ashes.”

England squad

Alastair Cook (capt), Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Adil Rashid.

AFP jb

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