The Ashes: Gary Ballance is one of three uncapped players named in England squad
Yorkshire's Gary Ballance is the surprise name in England's 17-man squad for this winter's Ashes series in Australia.
Last Updated: 26/09/13 4:03pm
Hampshire opener Michael Carberry is also included, along with uncapped Warwickshire fast bowler Boyd Rankin, Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and spinner Monty Panesar.
There was no place for Nick Compton, Graham Onions, James Taylor or Chris Woakes in the squad and although Tim Bresnan was also omitted from the 17, he will travel to Australia with the squad as he continues his recovery from injury.
National selector Geoff Miller said: "Tim Bresnan has not been named in the squad and is continuing his recovery from a stress fracture in his back. He will travel to Australia with the squad to maximise his rehab opportunities with the medical team and coaches who will monitor his progress."
England's selectors are taking a battery of tall fast bowlers who should enjoy the bouncy Australian pitches.
In Stuart Broad (6'6"), Steven Finn (6'7"), Chris Tremlett (6'8") and Boyd Rankin (6'8") England have selected four of the tallest men to have represented the country. All four are quick, whilst Stokes can bowl at 90mph.
Zimbabwe-born left-hander Ballance has had a superb season for Yorkshire, and he is finally fulfilling his potential after being tipped as the next Graeme Hick some years ago whilst at Derbyshire.
He gets the nod over Nottinghamshire's James Taylor, who appeared to be in pole position as batting cover. Michael Carberry also goes as cover for the openers Alastair Cook and Joe Root.
Panesar joins the party as the second spinner behind Graeme Swann, despite his well-documented off-field problems, picked ahead of Lancashire leg-spinner Simon Kerrigan - who played in the fifth Test at the Oval - and Kent off-spinner James Tredwell.
Panesar was fined for urinating in public this summer and parted company with Sussex but Miller said: "He's appreciated he's made errors and he's very sure that those errors are behind him now.
"He appreciated the reason why he was sent home, accepted that and knuckled down. He's been selected because that's been rectified. He's an experienced international player and it's up to him to actually produce the goods for us."
Stokes, one of three uncapped players in the squad along with Rankin and Ballance, is viewed as England's next genuine all-rounder, and he was chosen ahead of Warwickshire's Woakes, who played in the last Ashes Test at the Oval.
Miller said: "Gary Ballance, Boyd Rankin and Ben Stokes have all come through the EPP in recent years and have put in strong performances for their counties and England teams to earn an opportunity to step into the Test environment.
"There are no left-field selections. Ballance has played very well for Yorkshire so it's not a left-field selection, it's considered."
Miller appeared to suggest Stokes may not be in the frame for the starting XI. "It's not just about picking the side," he said. "You obviously pick players to win the series but we have to think about the future as well, the immediate future and a bit further on."
England squad: Alastair Cook (c), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Matt Prior (vc), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Michael Carberry, Steven Finn, Monty Panesar, Boyd Rankin, Ben Stokes, Chris Tremlett
England Performance Programme Squad: Moeen Ali, Danny Briggs, Joe Buttler, Varun Chopra, Ben Foakes, James Harris, Chris Jordan, Simon Kerrigan, Alex Lees, Tymal Mills, Jamie Overton, Sam Robson, Reece Topley, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood