Insights from the UK and beyond
from Left field:
England's commitment to a four-man attack for their Ashes defence in Australia this year has directly influenced the decision to recall left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.
Panesar and Surrey fast bowler Chris Tremlett, another recall, won the two extra bowling places at stake in the 16-man squad named at the Oval on Thursday.
England won the Ashes with a five-man attack in 2005 but, in the absence of a test class all-rounder after Andrew Flintoff's injury-induced retirement, have preferred this year to play an extra batsman.
* England will be heavily reliant on off-spinner Graeme Swann, the world's top-ranked spinner, in Australia. Swann, who gives the ball a prodigious tweak for a finger-spinner, has emerged as England's match-winner after he was called up at the end of 2008.