London: England made no surprise choices on Thursday as it announced its squad for the defence of the Ashes against Australia, with Monty Panesar, Chris Tremlett and Steven Davies winning the race for three of the backup roles in the 16-man Test party.
Panesar, whose most recent appearance for England was in last year's home Ashes series, has been recalled as the deputy to first-choice off-spinner Graeme Swann.
Lanky pace bowler Tremlett is back in the squad after winning his last cap in 2007 against India and Davies will be the reserve wicketkeeper behind Matt Prior.
The rest of the squad picked itself, with selectors choosing seven batsmen, two wicketkeepers, five fast bowlers and two spinners.
The first Test of the five-match series begins in Brisbane on November 25. England is looking to retain the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1987. The last time England was Down Under, the team was whitewashed 5-0 in 2006-07.
Panesar beat James Tredwell and Adil Rashid in the race to be Swann's backup following an impressive season with English county championship side Sussex in which he took 52 wickets.
The left-arm spinner has taken 126 wickets in 39 tests but has disappeared off the England radar since his rearguard action helped England save the Cardiff Test against Australia last summer. England went on to win the series 2-1.
Tremlett was competing with Ajmal Shahzad to be one of two backup fast bowlers, along with Tim Bresnan, behind an expected pace attack of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Steven Finn.
The extra pace and bounce Tremlett will provide on Australian pitches helped swing selectors his way. The 29-year-old Surrey bowler, whose three caps all came in 2007, topped the county championship averages in taking 48 wickets.
Craig Kieswetter came into the summer as England's second-choice wicketkeeper but has been overtaken by Davies, who was behind the stumps for the recent limited-overs series against Pakistan.
Elsewhere, batsman Ian Bell was named in the Test squad after recovering from a metatarsal injury sustained in the one-dayer against Bangladesh this summer and was joined in the squad by Kevin Pietersen, who will prepare for the Ashes by playing for South African side Kwa-Zulu Natal Dolphins in October.
The rest of the Tests will be played in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and finally Sydney, which starts on January 3.
England is scheduled to play three warmup matches against first-class opponents — Western Australia, South Australia and Australia A — before the start of the Test series.
England will then play Australia in two Twenty20s and seven one-dayers. The England and Wales Cricket Board said the limited-overs squads is set to be announced in mid-November.
Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Steven Davies, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Jonathan Trott