England's white-ball captain Eoin Morgan has said that he would prefer those players on the fringes of the Test side, but also with T20 deals in leagues around the world, to earn a place on the Ashes tour rather than take up their franchise roles.
The Ashes squad will be named next Wednesday and a handful of players in the one-day squad currently on duty against West Indies could be in the mix to fill vacant slots. Heading the list are Alex Hales and Jos Buttler who both have Test experience but have since drifted down the pecking order since their initial runs in the team.
Hales and Buttler have T20 contracts secured for November and December - Hales in South Africa's Global T20 and Buttler in the BPL - but while there has been a push, led by director of England cricket Andrew Strauss, for England's white-ball cricketers to play more T20 around the world, Morgan could only see one choice as the route they should aim for.
"I'd like to see them play in an Ashes series," he said. "Ashes and World Cups are the pinnacle of our careers so to see guys playing in that format and doing well would boost confidence massively. They have a huge amount of ability in all three formats and if an opportunity presented itself in an Ashes series as opposed to a T20 league, I'd say take the Ashes every time."
If Buttler was to travel to Australia it would be in the back-up keeper role to Jonny Bairstow - although Surrey's Ben Foakes is currently favoured for that position - while Hales' name has been floated among those who could push for a spare batting role since his move into the middle order in Nottinghamshire's Championship team. Steven Finn, who has signed for Pretoria Mavericks in the GLT20, also made a late bid for an Ashes call with 8 for 79 against Lancashire this week. He could come into contention after the injury to Toby Roland-Jones.
Hales' previous spell in the Test team was as an opener in 2016 and it ended after the Pakistan series last summer when he opted out of the tour of Bangladesh, although was likely to be dropped anyway. He scored a double-century in the Championship against Derbyshire last month which, allied to a stellar white-ball season, prompted debate about a Test recall. However, such a move would still come based on a small sample size of seven four-day matches and, besides his 218, he has made 206 runs in eight Championship innings.
If performances in one-day cricket are going to be noted in the selection debate then Hales (and Buttler) have one more match, at Bristol on Sunday, to make a statement before the selectors meet to finalise the Ashes party.
"I think if I was in Alex's position I'd just do as much as I can and see if I was selected," Morgan said. "I think it's nice he has an alternative plan so it's not the be-all and end-all for him to be selected for the Ashes. It takes a little bit of the weight off his shoulders. But certainly in the form he's shown throughout this summer he's got to be one of the most in-form batsmen in county cricket at the moment."
However, while Morgan is hoping for the best for his team-mates when it comes to Ashes selection, the proximity will have no bearing on the sides selected for the remainder of the one-day series against West Indies, with the captain ruling out standing down the likes of Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Joe Root or Bairstow.
"We want to play the best team to win a particular game," he said. "We feel, given that they will have the whole of October off, we've planned for this from the lead-in to the Champions Trophy when they were rested for the South Africa T20 series. We feel the back-end of the Australia tour, the T20 tri-series, could be the opportunity when we'll look at guys being rested."