Head coach Chris Silverwood says he is thrilled his star players have “committed” to the tour after a 17-strong Ashes (Australia 1/4, England 5/1, draw 8/1 – Series Betting) squad was announced.

While the ECB announced on Friday the tour would definitely go ahead in the wake of Covid protocols, there was some concern that players would pull out due to the potential length of time away from their families.

However, the strongest available squad has been selected, with every player previously capped at Test level.

Joe Root will captain the side, with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler – one of those thought to have concerns over travelling – named vice-captain.

Root will be joined by Rory Burns, Dawid Malan, Haseeb Hameed and Zak Crawley in the top order as England seek to improve their performance with the bat.

James Anderson, Mark Wood, Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson make up England’s pace bowling options while spinner Jack Leach and Dom Bess are also included.

Experienced Stuart Broad is also in the mix as he continues his recovery from a torn calf muscle, though the ECB say he is making “excellent progress”.

Meanwhile, joining Buttler in the middle order will be Jonny Bairstow, Dan Lawrence, Chris Woakes, and Ollie Pope.

Ben Stokes is the highest-profile absentee as he continues his indefinite break from cricket to protect his mental wellbeing.

Pacemen Jofra Archer and Olly Stone are still recovering from elbow and back injuries respectively.

Sam Curran also misses out through injury while Moeen Ali recently announced his retirement from Test cricket.

Silverwood insists it will be a huge challenge to regain the Ashes after Australia retained them in 2019 but has full belief in England’s ability to cause an upset Down Under – their last win coming in the 2010-11 series.

“We are under no illusions about how difficult the task is going to be,” said Silverwood.

“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.”

The first Test gets underway in Brisbane on December 8.

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