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Monty back in squad for Ashes

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Monty Panesar is back in the England squad for the winter Ashes tour of Australia. After disgracing himself in a recent drunken incident when he urinated on nightclub bouncers, Monty is the latest player to be embraced by the England rehabilitation process.

Panesar has, more often than not, bowled well for England in Tests and the squad is stronger with his inclusion. Selector Geoff Miller applauded Monty's attempt to sort out his personal problems. "He has worked very hard to rectify things," Miller said. "He is a proven Test-match bowler, and he knows what is expected of him. We have every confidence in him."

The squad to tour Australia and attempt to win a fourth successive Ashes series had a few surprises. Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance has yet to play for England at Test level but recent form has propelled him into contention for a middle-order place. Opener Nick Compton may have played his last England Test after missing out on selection. Michael Carberry was preferred as cover for the openers.

Bowler Boyd Rankin and all-rounder Ben Stokes are also included after impressing in the one-day series against Australia. Rankin is six foot seven. With Stuart Broad at six foot five, Steve Finn at six foot seven and Chris Tremlett at six foot eight, this must be the tallest bowling attack ever assembled.

The main concern surrounds bowler Tim Bresnan. After proving his worth with ball and bat in the Ashes, Bresnan seemed to have confirmed his place as a member of the bowling attack until a stress fracture in his back placed his prospects in jeopardy. Bresnan will travel with the touring party where medics will assess his progress. Miller implied that England's coach would do everything in his powers to include him. "When the time is right Andy Flower will look at that," Miller said, "and make a decision on whether he can stay with the squad or transfer to the Performance Programme. But only time will tell."

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