I do share a few concerns and agree with what has already been written by a few of you in this thread so far. A couple of confusing selections for me, in what is generally a pretty strong squad. The questionable ones that spring to mind most obviously for me is the selection of Michael Carberry over Nick Compton and the omission of Graham Onions in favour of a whole host of big, hit-the-deck options.
To take the back-up opening position for starters, I'm not entirely sure what Compton has done that is so wrong that he has now been jettisoned out of an 18-man squad. It was deemed a brave decision to leave him out of the Ashes over here this year but by general consensus many believed it to be the right choice. While I think Root will develop into a very decent opening bat, it is clear he had his problems there and should these worries and concerns resurface in Australia I would have thought Compton would offer a more solid and reliable option as averse to Carberry who didn't look entirely comfortable in this company during the recently concluded ODI series. Clearly England have reservations over Compton, but from the outside looking in he appears a fit and dedicated athlete (as too does Carberry) who is willing to work hard for his runs, is a generally compact player that has shown sufficient mental strength to warrant a squad place. There are technical concerns but very few players arrive on the Test scene without having to improve various technical aspects.
Form-wise Compton is averaging over 50 in the CC in Div 1 with Carbs just over 40 in Div 2. I'd imagine Compton is absolutely gutted to miss out, and I'm surprised they have chosen Carberry. Would have been less surprised had they opted for a more inexperienced player like Varun Chopra. I do like Carberry, but even he had changed his priorities prior to this season seemingly focusing on his T20 and LO cricket as the hopes of another Test cap had diminished, and with good reason, imo.
As ever, the hard and bouncy nature of the Australian pitches sees a touring side pick a plethora of big bowlers intent on slamming the ball in to gain appreciable bounce engineered by their domineering frames. A reasonable selection tactic, but it does seem as though the majority of our eggs are being placed in that particular basket. The need of Jimmy to maintain fitness has never been so important. Of course Bresnan will represent a different option presuming he regains fitness early in the tour. But what more does Onions have to do ? There are the obvious benefits for a seam bowler playing at Durham but he has proved time and again he doesn't need a pitch to jag all over the place for him to be effective. He may have lost that bit of extra nip since we saw him in the Ashes back in 2009 but surely through weight of wickets he has demonstrated his worth, as he does consistently year in year out.
I would have left out one of the taller seamers to ensure the cover is more evenly spread, and that would probably have been Chris Tremlett, despite his success on the last tour to Oz.
As for for the rest of the squad, I'm pretty pleased with it. The selection of Balance is exciting and puts some realistic pressure on Bairstow for that spot, I think Ben Stokes, despite being very raw, should have got the nod ahead of Woakes, and there is a fair distance between Monty and the next best spinner, providing his napper's in the right place.