The key Ashes questions thrown up by England’s World Cup triumph

  •  PA Sport

The Ashes series starts at Edgbaston on August 1 and England’s selectors are set to pick their squad during next week’s warm-up Test match against Ireland.

Here, we take a look at how England’s thrilling World Cup triumph could affect the selectors’ thinking in their bid to regain the urn.

Who Opens?

Jason Roy was pivotal to England’s success at the World Cup, scoring 443 runs at average of 63.28 at the top of the order, and there have been calls for him to open the batting against Australia.

Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings and Joe Denly all failed to nail down an Ashes place during the series defeat in the West Indies earlier in the year, and England head coach Trevor Bayliss has confirmed Roy is a strong contender.

Doubts persist over whether the Surrey batsman can carry his match-winning white-ball form into the Test arena, but he has the optimum amount of swagger to take the fight to Australia and deserves the chance.

Bairstow’s Place In The Pecking Order

England have struggled to find a replacement opener for retired former skipper Alistair Cook and, while Roy has been touted as one Ashes option, his one-day partner Jonny Bairstow has been largely overlooked in that role.

He scored 532 runs during the World Cup at an average of 48.36, and his back-to-back centuries against India and New Zealand swept England into the last four.

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested Bairstow might be retained alongside Roy for the Ashes, but the Yorkshireman’s all-out-attacking style makes him better suited to a batting role lower down the order.

Who’s The Keeper?

The Bairstow conundrum is likely to figure highly in the selectors’ plans as they ponder the wicket-keeper role.

He batted lower down the order in the West Indies, with Test wicket-keeping duties handed to Ben Foakes before Bairstow was handed the gloves back for the final Test.

Who the selectors will choose behind the stumps against Australia may depend on who they opt for at the top of the batting order, but Bairstow relishes keeping wicket and, although his dynamic World Cup opening partnership with Roy has given them plenty to think about, he should be handed the role ahead of Foakes.

Jofra Archer Is A Must

Jofra Archer’s starring role with the ball throughout the World Cup has catapulted him into the Ashes frame.

He was playing club cricket for Horsham last year, but his 20 wickets at 23.05 runs each during the tournament and his nerveless ability to bowl consistently quick make him a shoo-in for an Ashes place. 

The 24-year-old proved he can handle the pressure by holding his nerve in the final’s nail-biting super over.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Sam Curran, plus World Cup teammates Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, are all in contention, but the selectors must find room for Archer.

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