Tom Westley and Samit Patel should be selected for England's Ashes squad, if Ben Stokes is ruled out of the winter series in Australia, according to former captain Nasser Hussain.
The ECB are prepared for Stokes' likely absence from the touring party for the series, after the 26-year-old all-rounder was arrested last week following a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol.
Should Stokes be unavailable for the Ashes series, which begins with the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane in late November, England's chances of retaining the urn Down Under could be dented, and Hussain believes that the Durham player is an "irreplaceable" member of the side.
However, in his column in The Daily Mail, Hussain believes that England should look towards Essex batsman Westley and Nottinghamshire all-rounder Patel as possible alternatives to the void which could be left by Stokes.
Hussain said: "I realise that Patel is no Ben Stokes, but then no one is, otherwise they’d have been selected in the squad in the first place.
"Patel has been scoring runs for fun with Nottinghamshire recently, and his left-arm spin provides some balance.
"Jimmy Anderson and Broad are exceptional bowlers, but being part of a five-man attack in home conditions is very different from being part of a four-man attack in the heat of Australia.
"If Patel can fill in even with just 10 overs a day, it allows England’s Anderson, Broad and Chris Woakes to have a breather while the Kookaburra goes soft, or if they’re waiting for the second new ball or even for reverse swing.
"As for Westley, it’s true that England are not spoiled for choice when it comes to middle-order options, but at least he has the experience of five Tests under his belt this season."
Westley's omission from the initial squad announcement last Wednesday raised eyebrows, with the 28-year-old featuring in five Test matches against South Africa and the West Indies earlier in the summer.
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Patel should also be considered, according to Hussain, having enjoyed a fine domestic season with Notts, with whom he won promotion back to Division One with, as well as both limited overs tournaments.
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