The Ashes holders will be without former captain Michael Vaughn and swing bowler Simon Jones who are both out due to knee injuries, with six squad members also under injury clouds including the captain himself.

 

Bowlers James Anderson (back), Stephen Harmison (back), Ashley Giles (hip) and Liam Plunkett (side strain) are all nursing injuries, along with opening batsman Marcus Trescothick who will miss the ICC Champions Trophy due to a stress-related illness.

 

"We believe they will be fit by the time we go to Australia, it's as simple as that," chairman of selectors David Graveney told reporters.

 

Flintoff, who is recovering from an ankle injury, cited a mix of players with Ashes experience and those who wanted to prove themselves at that level as reason for England to retain the Ashes.

 

"Having experienced the emotion of the Ashes last summer, the carrot that's been dangled in front of us is huge," said Flintoff.

 

"The lads who were involved in that, they want to experience that again, and the lads who weren't, they want to play in it and be involved in it.

 

"We've got to go over there confident - we can't have any fear of losing the Ashes or giving them back. We have to go out there and play as we did last summer, probably even better."

 

The all-rounder was a leading figure with both bat and ball when England won the Ashes last year, scoring 402 runs and taking 24 wickets in the series, giving him the edge over opening batsman Andrew Strauss for the captaincy.

 

"It was his ability to bat, bowl and field and lead from the front," said Graveney.

 

"The Australians fear him like they fear quite a lot of our players."

 

The full England touring party will consist of 30 players as they take a 14-man stand-by squad to be based in Perth as cover incase of a large injury toll during the series, with some players staying on for the One Day tournament after the Ashes.

 

England Ashes squad:

Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire),  Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Alastair Cook  (Essex), Ashley Giles (Warwickshire), Stephen Harmison (Durham),  Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Geraint Jones (Kent, wkt), Sajid  Mahmood (Lancashire), Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire), Liam  Plunkett (Durham), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Chris Read  (Nottinghamshire, wkt), Andrew Strauss (Middlesex), Marcus  Trescothick (Somerset)

 

England Academy Squad to be based in Perth:

Ravi Bopara (Essex), Stuart Broad (Leicestershire), Rikki Clarke (Surrey) Jamie Dalrymple (Middlesex), Steven Davies (Worcestershire, wkt), Ed Joyce (Middlesex), Robert Key (Kent), Jon Lewis  (Gloucestershire), Graham Onions (Durham), Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Tom Smith (Lancashire), Chris Tremlett (Hampshire), Michael Yardy (Sussex)