LONDON (Reuters) - Joe Root is on course to open in the forthcoming Ashes series against Australia after being named as opener in an England squad for a four-day warmup match against county side Essex starting on Sunday.
Nick Compton, who scored consecutive test centuries in New Zealand this year but then struggled for form in the return series, has not been included in the side announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Monday.
The 14-man squad for the match at Chelmsford also includes middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen, who recovered from a knee injury to hit a century in his current match for Surrey against Yorkshire, and Warwickshire's Boyd Rankin.
Rankin is the only member of the squad yet to play for England in any format. He joins five other pace bowlers in the squad; James Anderson, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Graham Onions.
"We believe Joe Root is currently the best opening partner for Alastair Cook and he will open the batting against Essex," said national selector Geoff Miller.
"This match is a vital part of our preparations for the Ashes after a period of limited overs cricket for a large number of the squad."
England squad - Alastair Cook (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.
Reporting by Tony Goodson; Editing by John Mehaffey