While Australia continue to chop and change their line-ups, England have decided to battle harden their cricketers ahead of this year's back-to-back Ashes series (check out the latest cricket odds with Unibet
England announced their Test squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand on Thursday and there were few surprises.
Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel have been dropped from the squad that recorded a famous win in India, while all-rounder Chris Woakes replaces the injury-plagued Tim Bresnan.
Joe Root retains his place after a whirlwind start to his international career and should make his second Test appearance in the series opener in Dunedin on March 6. What is less certain is where the talented 22-year-old will bat.
Nick Compton partnered captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order in the subcontinent and did an admirable job. However, he failed to make the opening berth his own and now has Root breathing down his neck.
Root has impressed the management team and fans alike with his temperament and technique in his short international career, and should become a fixture in the England set-up. He could enjoy a long and fruitful partnership with Cook.
Should Compton make way to accommodate Root, a place would become available in the middle-order. Since Jonny Bairstow is the only reserve batsman in the squad, he would automatically come straight in.
Bairstow struggled in his first series against the West Indies last summer but bounced back in style against South Africa at Lord's. He was unfortunate to miss out at the start of the India tour. The Yorkshireman deserves a chance to prove his credentials.
The make-up of England's bowling attack is more straightforward. Bresnan's injury gives the selectors an easy decision to make, with Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson likely to take the field for the first Test against the Black Caps, if fit.
England face New Zealand five times home and away before the Australians arrive in the summer. Meanwhile, Michael Clarke's men travel to India for a four-Test series.
It will be interesting to see Australia's approach, given their recent rotation policy. England's team for the opening Test against New Zealand is likely to be the one that walks out at Trent Bridge on July 10; will Australia adopt the same approach?
The Ashes battles could come down to the survival of the fittest. Injuries and fatigue could ultimately determine the destiny of the famous urn.