England have named a 16-man squad for their tour of Sri Lanka which begins next month. Eoin Morgan is the only notable absentee from the squad that toured the UAE, with Chris Tremlett the other exclusion due to his ongoing back problems.
In their places, all-rounder Samit Patel earns a call-up, while there is also a surprise recall for Kent off-spinner James Tredwell – who last played for England in the 2011 World Cup – meaning that the tourists have included as many as four spinners in their party.
The inclusion of Patel, as well as the return of Tim Bresnan, means that England have a couple of options available to them when they consider the make-up of their starting eleven. Patel or Bresnan could bat at seven behind Matt Prior allowing England to play five bowlers or they could continue with their four-man attack that has served them so well in the past.
Morgan’s exclusion follows his horror show in the UAE where he managed 82 runs over the course of six Test innings. He fared little better in his supposedly stronger suit – the limited-overs arena – hitting just 98 runs from seven innings. His axing means that Ravi Bopara is likely to have another chance at cementing his position in the Test side following some encouraging performances in the One-Day Internationals against Pakistan.
The main squad will set off for Sri Lanka on 10th March, whereas those not involved in the recent limited-overs series in the UAE – namely Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Steven Davies, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior and James Tredwell – along with Patel will depart a little earlier for a training camp under the jurisdiction of batting coach Graham Gooch.
National Selector, Geoff Miller, said, “We have selected a squad that we feel will be able to make best use of the conditions we are likely to encounter in Sri Lanka. There is no doubt that this Test series will be a challenging one but it is exciting that players have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have learnt from the disappointment of the Pakistan Test series and can make further strides in developing the skills needed to succeed on the subcontinent.”
The first of two Tests begins in Galle on 26th March, with the second in Colombo from the 3rd April. The first of two warm-up matches is on 15th March.
England Test squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Steven Davies (wicket-keeper), Steven Finn, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior (wicket-keeper), Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott
© Cricket World 2012