England squad for the first Test announced
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:IR Bell, MP Vaughan, GP Swann, G Onions, TT Bresnan
Event:West Indies in England 2009

DateLine: 29th April 2009


Ian Bell, Michael Vaughan and fast bowler Steve Harmison were not considered for the first Test against West Indies at Lord's. Middlesex batsman Owais Shah has been dropped, so Essex's Ravi Bopara is set to take the vital number three role. Uncapped seam bowlers Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan are surprise inclusions and they will provide support for James Anderson and Stuart Broad.


England needed to reinforce the seam attack because Andrew Flintoff and Ryan Sidebottom are both unavailable but including Harmison and recalling a more experienced candidate like Matthew Hoggard or Saj Mahmood would have been the safe option. Onions, 26, is a team-mate of Harmison at Durham and has taken 152 first-class wickets at an average of 32, but has yet to play international cricket. Bresnan, from Yorkshire, is two years younger but has played five one-day internationals, the most recent against Scotland last summer, and a Twenty20 match for England.


The squad announcement had been delayed for nine days to give the selectors more time to assess potential candidates. Bell, who lost his place during the recent tour to the Caribbean, staked a claim for a recall with two early season centuries and former skipper Vaughan made an impressive 82 in a Friends Provident Trophy game for Yorkshire last weekend - but he was out for five in a Championship game against Worcestershire just hours after learning of his non-selection. Miller has not ruled out a return to the Test side for either player.


The selectors have chosen to back the potential of 23-year-old Bopara, currently playing in the Indian Premier League in South Africa, following his maiden Test hundred in Barbados two months ago. On that occasion, he batted at six, as he has in all four Test appearances to date, and moving up three places will be a big test of his technique and temperament. Matt Prior keeps his place as wicketkeeper and is likely to bat at six at Lord's, with Broad or Bresnan, who has hit three first-class centuries, going in at number seven.


Spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar are both in the squad but with only one likely to play in the first Test, which starts on 6 May, Swann appears to be in pole position. The Notts off-spinner was England's leading wicket-taker in the series in the West Indies earlier this year, with 19 victims at a cost of only 24 runs each.


England squad : Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann.