Perth: Towering paceman Chris Tremlett is likely to have an early chance to press for an Ashes Test place as England open their tour Down Under against a Western Australia Chairman`s XI in Perth on Thursday.
Captain Alastair Cook says a place is up for grabs in England`s pace attack behind first-choice quicks Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad and has given the incentive to Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin to go after it.
Broad sat out Tuesday practice with a back complaint and may not play in the three-day tour opener, which is likely to give coach Andy Flower the chance to see at least two of England`s three giant fast bowlers go head to head.
Tremlett has had past success bowling on Australian wickets and proved a handful, taking 17 wickets in three Tests on England`s last tour Down Under three years ago.
"The first week or so everyone is a little tentative and going through the the gears," the Surrey bowler said.
"But when I go into the warm-up games and Test matches, I`ll be throwing myself into it and not holding back because I want to give myself the best chance of playing in the first Test."
England have three tour matches in the build-up to the opening Ashes Test at Brisbane`s Gabba Ground on November 21.
Cook, also troubled by a back complaint, sat out the practice game Tuesday to receive treatment and is unlikely to be risked if there is a chance of aggravating the problem.
Cook averaged more than 127 during his last Test series in Australia, and his composure at the top of the order will be crucial to England`s chances of securing a fourth straight Ashes triumph.
"I`m sure he`ll be fine," batsman Ian Bell said. "He`s had the odd little niggle with the back... I suppose we all have certain areas we have to keep working on.
"Obviously a long flight isn`t always easy. I`m sure he`ll be right in the next week or so."
Bell played a key role in England`s 3-0 series triumph against Australia in July-August, scoring three centuries to end with an average of 62.44.
"It certainly doesn`t change your appetite for runs and success," Bell said. "You want to come out here and play the best cricket you can.
"Whatever`s gone now has gone, and this series is the most important."
Conflicting scheduling means that England will face a second-string WA XI, with the main state side involved in a domestic Sheffield Shield game against Victoria in Melbourne at the same time and other leading players in India with the Australian one-day side.
Two-Test spinner Michael Beer will captain the local team in the absence of Adam Voges, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell Johnson, while Queensland`s Chris Lynn has been drafted in to bolster the side.
WA Chairman`s XI (from): Michael Beer (capt), James Allenby, Burt Cockley, Matt Dixon, Ryan Duffield, Marcus Harris, Chris Lynn, Mitch Marsh, Luke Towers, Tom Triffitt, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye.
England squad: Alastair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin, Ben Stokes, Monty Panesar, Michael Carberry, Gary Ballance, Chris Tremlett.