England blasted for Ashes scapegoat choices

With AAP

The England cricket selectors have been slammed for their choices in dropping three players from the Ashes Test squad for their upcoming Test series against New Zealand.

The under-fire team will retain James Vince and Mark Stoneman despite lacklustre performances in their 4-0 Ashes series loss.

Instead, Gary Ballance, Jake Ball and Tom Curran missed selection, players who were barely seen in the horrendous trip to Australia.

Curran was unlucky to miss selection. Pic: Getty

Ballance did not feature in the Ashes, Ball featured only in the first Test and Curran was a late addition to the squad before turning out in Melbourne and Sydney.

Management's decision to only drop players who barely featured has not been missed by cricket fans and a former Australian cricket legend.

Coach Trevor Bayliss made a strong case for the retention of Stoneman and Vince when reviewing the campaign earlier this week, but the pair underperformed against Australia and there is little doubt that this show of faith requires immediate payback if they are to remain in the side.

England play two warm-up matches in Hamilton before their gruelling winter schedule finally comes to a close with Tests in Auckland on March 22 and Christchurch on March 30.

Livingstone, 24, is the spare batsman on tour and will likely push harder for a place than Ballance, who resembled little more than a place holder during the Ashes.

"Liam has been a player that we have been impressed with for quite some time, having performed well in the county system with Lancashire and over the past couple of years with the England Lions," England selector James Whitaker said.

"He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena. During the recent Lions tour of Australia, he was a standout performer and showed a lot of maturity in his attitude and put in some strong performances."

Wood, meanwhile, would have been present for the Test leg in Australia had he been considered fit and robust enough for the challenge.

He is currently with England's limited-overs squad as they look to exact a measure of revenge for the Ashes.

As has been the case with the past three squad announcements, all-rounder Stokes appears with a caveat next to his name, as he waits to find out if he will be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service.

ENGLAND SQUAD: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.