ICL: Indian Cricket League

Hoggard back in England squad


Matthew Hoggard has been recalled by England in their 12-man squad for the first two Tests against New Zealand, the first of which starts on Thursday at Lord’s.

Paul Collingwood has been included after undergoing treatment to his right shoulder, although his fitness remains a concern, while Hoggard is back as one of four seam bowlers, along with Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

Andrew Flintoff, who had been the subject of increasing media attention, was unavailable after suffering a left side strain during the latest round of Championship matches.

Hoggard was dropped after the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton following England’s defeat. However, his form for Yorkshire has been promising with 10 wickets in two Championship matches including a six-wicket haul against Hampshire. He is playing against the New Zealanders at The Rose Bowl for England Lions and, although it took him a while to get his name among the wickets, he ended with three in the first innings.

Anderson’s encouraging form for Lancashire, with nine wickets in the match against Durham, means England are likely to name an unchanged side from the one that fought back to take the series against New Zealand in Napier. Hoggard was a logical choice as the extra player in the squad, given his experience and 248 Test wickets.

There weren’t many other quick bowlers making a strong case of inclusion although Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions have performed well for England Lions this week. Steve Harmison’s form for Durham has been less than eye-catching and he took just one with against Lancashire in the recent Championship match.

Geoff Miller, the England national selector, said: “Despite being faced with some injury concerns we’ve named what we think is an extremely strong England Test squad.

“Collingwood received treatment to his right shoulder on Friday and we now need to see how he responds to that treatment before we have a definitive idea of his availability for the first Test. At this stage it’s too early to say whether he will definitely play as he will be reassessed in the lead up to Thursday.

“Clearly there is very healthy competition for places in this Test side, which can only be good for England. The decision to leave the likes of Stephen Harmison out was a difficult one but we’ve no doubt that Stephen, along with several other players, will continue to fight every inch of the way to stake a claim for England selection.”

Flintoff was ruled out of contention on Saturday after picking up a side strain against Durham, a match where his outstanding bowling continued with seven wickets but with the bat he bagged a pair. He was assessed and received treatment by the Lancashire medical team and subsequent scans on Friday evening confirmed the diagnosis of a side strain.

The ECB insisted, however, that Flintoff “has not experienced any discomfort in his left ankle and continues to make excellent progress in his rehabilitation from surgery last October”.

“Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed to be unavailable for Test selection due to this injury as I’m really enjoying my cricket with Lancashire and feel my bowling has been improving with each match,” Flintoff said. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to this point after ankle surgery last year and I know I can overcome what isn’t a significant injury. It’s very frustrating to have picked up an injury at this time but I want nothing more than to return to the England side and will continue to do everything required to make myself available for selection.”

England squad
Michael Vaughan (capt), Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Tim Ambrose (wk), Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson, Matthew Hoggard.

Source:Cricket News

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