ICL: Indian Cricket League

England Remain Unchanged

Written by Athar Khan on July 4th, 2008   (373 views)

Flintoff - left out.England have named an unchanged Test squad for the start of the npower series against South Africa.

National selector Geoff Miller revealed the dozen names at Lord’s this lunchtime as those who have won four and drawn one of the past five matches against New Zealand were retained.

Captain Michael Vaughan has been troubled by soreness in his right knee but the selectors did not deem batting cover necessary.

Talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, meanwhile, will have to wait at least a week longer to end his absence from Test cricket - he last played in the whitewash-sealing defeat to Australia in the 2006-07 Ashes.

Flintoff, 30, will have the opportunity to add further runs and wickets to his domestic tally by playing for Lancashire in the County Championship fixture against Hampshire, which begins next Friday, 24 hours after the first Test gets under way at Lord’s.

When Flintoff does return it will offer another dimension to England’s bowling line-up but for now giant paceman Chris Tremlett will push the established attack for a place.

“Andrew Flintoff has worked extremely hard to be back playing some very good cricket for Lancashire which is a credit to his determination and patience,” said Miller.

“The selectors are keen to see Andrew get more overs under his belt and spend some more time in the middle before recalling him to the Test side.

“We’re all eager to see him back playing for England but there’s nothing to be gained from rushing him back until he has proved he’s ready to meet the demands of Test cricket.

“There is a lot of cricket on the horizon and we want Andrew to be a part of that without jeopardising his fitness.”

Although Flintoff’s return from six weeks sidelined with a side strain might lead to change for the second Test against the Proteas at Headingley, if England maintain the same XI it will be the sixth consecutive match they have done so.

And consistency, as Miller pointed out, has been the selectors’ watchword this summer.

“The England Test side has won four of its past five matches and most recently the Test series against New Zealand so we feel there’s no need to change a winning formula,” Miller said.

“There have been a number of players pushing for selection in recent weeks which is extremely pleasing but consistency in selection and consistency in performance has led us to maintain the same squad for the first npower Test against South Africa.”

England squad for the first npower Test against South Africa at Lord’s, which begins next Thursday:

MP Vaughan (captain, Yorkshire), AN Cook (Essex), AJ Strauss (Middlesex), KP Pietersen (Hampshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), PD Collingwood (Durham), TR Ambrose (wicketkeeper, Warwickshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), RJ Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), MS Panesar (Northamptonshire), JM Anderson (Lancashire), CT Tremlett (Hampshire).

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