LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: England bowler James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Murali Vijay, his 100th Test wicket at Lords during day 4 of the Second Test Match between England and India at Lord's Cricket Ground on August 12, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The arrival of Ben Stokes has sent shockwaves through the Australian camp.

Their chances of Ashes victory have boosted significantly with the match-winning all-rounder ready for the first Test in Brisbane.

This hungry English side contains a real mix.

On one hand, you have the 39-year-old Jimmy Anderson who has aged like fine wine and on the other, you have 24-year-old opener Haseeb Hameed who after a significant period away from cricket, made 53 not out in England’s intra-club practice match.

A washed out practice match has not damped England's hopes of success, as players such as captain Joe Root have played 12-tests in 2021, his rival captain Pat Cummins has only played two Test matches for the calendar year.

Let's dive straight into England's squad

Joe Root (Yorkshire- Captain)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 29, Inn: 50, Runs: 2528, Avg: 53.79, 100: 8, 50: 6, Wkts: 17, Avg: 42.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 23, Inn: 41, Runs: 2235, Avg: 58.81, 100: 7, 50: 5, Wkts: 16, Avg: 39.69.

England’s captain has been in scintillating form since the 2019 Ashes.

Root has made 1455 Test runs and six centuries for the calendar year and is now 333-runs off Mohammad Yousuf’s 2006 World Record of 1788 runs in a year.

The skipper has averaged 121.25 runs per match in 2021 and need’s only 66.6 across the five Test’s to break the World Record.

In the 1928/20 Ashes series, a man by the name of Wally Hammond battered the Australian bowlers to the tune of 905-runs, with the form Root is in, could lightning strike twice?

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 James Anderson (Lancashire)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 21, Wkts: 68, Avg: 20.87, S/R: 54.25, 5Wi: 5.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 17, Wkts: 57, Avg: 23.44, S/R: 59.88, 5Wi: 4.

Remarkably, this will be Anderson’s fifth visit to Australian shores.

Criticised for his hefty bowling average of 35 from 18 Tests in Australia, Anderson could produce a swansong with La Niña special.

With cooler temperatures predicted for Summer, England’s very own 'Father Time' will be licking his lips. The last time Australia experienced the atmospheric phenomenon, Anderson took 24 wickets at 26.04 and England won the Ashes series 3-1.

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Dom Bess (Yorkshire)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 27, Wkts: 63, Avg: 32.87, S/R: 77.05, 5Wi: 4, Runs: 636, Avg: 20.52.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 12, Wkts: 33, Avg: 33.39, S/R: 70.06, 5Wi: 2, Runs: 207, Avg: 25.87.

Dom Bess, the right-arm off-spinner could play a part in the 2021/22 Ashes series as an all-rounder with the retirement of Moeen Ali.

Still, Australia is normally a grave-yard for finger-spinners, with even the great Murali averaging 75.42 with the ball down-under.

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Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 23, Wkts: 82, Avg: 20.23, S/R: 48.55, 5Wi: 1, 10Wi: 1.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 17, Wkts: 57, Avg: 21.05, S/R: 51.10, 5Wi: 1, 10Wi: 1.

Stuart Broad has his sights set on one man this summer and that is David Warner.

Broad bowled 100 balls to Warner in the 2019 Ashes series, dismissing him five times and conceding just 35 runs.

The Notts paceman is a seriously dangerous prospect when bowling around the wicket to left-handers (averages under 22) and two will be opening the batting for Australia (David Warner, Marcus Harris) when he has the new ball.

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Rory Burns (Surrey)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 28, Inn: 46, Runs: 1796, Avg: 39.91, 100: 4, 50: 15.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 17, Inn: 29, Runs: 1010, Avg: 34.83, 100: 2, 50: 7.

Roy Burns will be looking for big scores in this year’s Ashes series.

The opener has made 15 half-centuries compared to his four centuries in his last 46 innings since 2019, and frankly, this isn’t good enough for an opener.

Burns has 390 runs at 39 against Australia, but this is his first tour down-under.

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Jos Buttler (Lancashire)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 18, Inn: 29, Runs: 941, Avg: 34.85, 100: 2, 50: 3, Ct: 73, St: 1.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 17, Inn: 28, Runs: 831, Avg: 31.96, 100: 1, 50: 3, Ct: 68, St: 1.

England’s most destructive batter failed to catch fire in the 2019 Ashes.

While Jos Buttler has only averaged 31.96 since the Ashes, he could yet be England’s secret ingredient if he translates his limited overs form into test form.

Buttler is a tough fighter and will relish heat against Australia.

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Zak Crawley (Kent)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 29, Inn: 51, Runs: 1507, Avg: 31.39, 100: 2, 50: 10.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 15, Inn: 26, Runs: 737, Avg: 28.34, 100: 1, 50: 4.

England’s number three has suffered a year from hell with the bat in 2021.

In 14 Test innings, Crawley has made only 156 runs at 11.14 with one half-century. If you take away his monster score of 267 against Pakistan in 2020, Crawley has 470 Test Runs at 18.8 from 25 innings.

A record like that in Australia, won’t cut it.

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Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 20, Inn: 33, Runs: 1216, Avg: 39.22, 100: 3, 50: 9.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 3, Inn: 5, Runs: 140, Avg: 28.00, 100: 0, 50: 2.

One of the very few cricketers in the squad to have first-class match practice, Haseeb Hameed looked solid in England’s practice game making 53 not out off 29 overs, until rain washed out the clash.

Hameed’s technique is very sound, I expect him to thrive in Australia.

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Dan Lawrence (Essex)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 23, Inn: 35, Runs: 1263, Avg: 40.74, 100: 2, 50: 8, Wkts: 6, Avg: 32.50.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 8, Inn: 15, Runs: 354, Avg: 27.23, 100: 0, 50: 3.

Like Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence has had a frustrating 2021.

He’s looked solid for three half-centuries against Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand, yet has also made four ducks in his first 15 Test Innings.

This won’t phase Lawrence, as he was the England Lions' most dominant batter when they toured Australia in 2019/20, he made 452 runs from five innings at an average of 113 and a highest score of 190.

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Jack Leach (Somerset)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 20, Wkts: 52, Avg: 34.56, S/R: 75.33, 5Wi: 2.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 7, Wkts: 30, Avg: 34.17, S/R: 63.77, 5Wi: 1.

Forever remembered for that fighting last wicket partnership with Ben Stokes in the famous Headingley Test in the 2019 Ashes, Jack Leach is a more than handy left-arm orthodox spinner.

Leach will be England’s number one spinner if they don’t opt for four to five fast bowlers every test.

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Dawid Malan (Middlesex)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 21, Inn: 34, Runs: 1717, Avg: 52.03, 100: 6, 50: 5.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 2, Inn: 3, Runs: 106, Avg: 35.33, 100: 0, 50: 1.

Dawid Malan’s record in away from Australia is 447 runs at 22.35 from 12 tests, this pales in comparison when looking at his elite record of 383 runs at 42.56 in Australia.

His 140 first innings score in the third Test at the WACA is fascinating considering England lost by an innings and 41 runs, even though they made a first innings total of 403.

Since the 2019 Ashes, Malan soared to the number one T20I bat in the world and has made 1717 runs at 52.03, including six centuries.

I expect Malan to bat at number three.

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Craig Overton (Somerset)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 17, Wkts: 86, Avg: 15.37, S/R: 39.51, 5Wi: 6, Runs: 532, Avg: 24.18.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 3, Wkts: 10, Avg: 27.50, S/R: 57.80, 5Wi: 0.

Not many fast-bowlers boast a bowling average of under 16 in the last three years, yet Craig Overton has been bowling herculean spells for Somerset.

It will be interesting to see what damage Overton can do in Australia with his probing line and tight economy.

England will be monitoring all 80 mph bowlers this summer, as Jimmy Anderson bowling average of 27.82, was stark in comparison with Broad (47.72), Woakes (49.50), Curran (100) and Ball (115) when they last toured down-under in 2017/18.

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Ollie Pope (Surrey)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 28, Inn: 45, Runs: 1860, Avg: 47.69, 100: 4, 50: 7, Ct: 25, St: 0.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 18, Inn: 31, Runs: 911, Avg: 33.74, 100: 1, 50: 6, Ct: 18, St: 0.

At just 23-years-of-age, Ollie Pope's status is already legendary at Surrey CC.

In his last 27 appearances for the London county, Pope has amassed 2408 runs at 75.25, including nine centuries. Yet, he is still struggling to transition that form onto the test area, with only one century from his 20 Tests and an average of 32.17.

With 320 runs from 14 innings at an average of 24.62 in 2021, this Ashes could make or break Pope, who has shown enormous potential.

It’s time for him to drop the ‘flat-track bully’ mantel for good.

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Ollie Robinson (Sussex)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 14, Wkts: 82, Avg: 17.29, S/R: 38.94, 5Wi: 5, 10Wi: 1, Runs: 406, Avg: 21.37.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 5, Wkts: 28, Avg: 19.60, S/R: 44.64, 5Wi: 2.

Ollie Robinson’s blistering start to his Test career hasn’t been without controversy.

The infamous tweet which was brought up after his test debut put a dampener on Robinson’s fantastic match figures of 7-101 off 42 overs.

With severe doubts over his career, Robinson bounced back taking 21-wickets at 21.33 from only four Tests against India. Robinson took two five-wicket hauls and dismissed Virat Kohli three times.

If the predicted La Niña will help the bowling of Jimmy Anderson, it will help the probing Robinson too.

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Ben Stokes (Durham)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 16, Inn: 26, Runs: 1041, Avg: 41.64, 100: 2, 50: 5, Wkts: 34, Avg: 24.65.

Test form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 14, Inn: 25, Runs: 1038, Avg: 43.25, 100: 2, 50: 5, Wkts: 28, Avg: 24.96.

All of England blew a large sigh of relief when they heard the news that Ben Stokes would he making his way to Australia.

The arch-nemesis of down-under has been in the absolute wars in 2021. He took time off due to his mental health, recovered from finger surgery, choked on a tablet in his Brisbane hotel room and was struck on the forearm in a net session the other day.

Even though Stokes is coming back for his first game since March, a below-par Stokes is still a difficulty for Australia if he gets on top early.

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Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 10, Wkts: 43, Avg: 20.25, S/R: 45.42, 5Wi: 1, Runs: 263, Avg: 21.92.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 8, Wkts: 31, Avg: 21.48, S/R: 48.97, 5Wi: 0, Runs: 244, Avg: 27.11

Dangerous with the ball in the T20I World Cup, all-rounder Chris Woakes will be intent on making a larger impact than he did the last time he toured Australia in 2017-18.

Woakes averages 43.90 with the ball against Australia and has only played one Test in 2021. In that Test, Woakes made 50 off 60 balls batting at number nine and took handy match figures of 7/138 off 47 overs.

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Mark Wood (Durham)

FC form since 2019 Ashes: Mat: 11, Wkts: 38, Avg: 26.50, S/R: 51.87, 5Wi: 1.

Test form since 2019 Ashes Mat: 8, Wkts: 28, Avg: 27.64, S/R: 53.46, 5Wi: 1.

Mark Wood has found himself back into the English squad after injuries to two frontline bowlers in Jofra Archer and Olly Stone.

Wood has missed the last two Ashes series due to injury and could provide a good point of difference for England with his raw pace.

The Australian pitches will be well suited towards Wood as England will need a ‘hit the deck’ fast bowler like Pat Cummins to stop the Australian batters from getting comfortable and keeping them on their toes.

If Wood can produce short/sharp spells full of pace, it increases England’s chances of victory.

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