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Rediff.com  » Cricket » England call up Sidebottom, Harmison

England call up Sidebottom, Harmison

August 04, 2009 19:59 IST

Ryan SidebottomEngland bolstered their bowling options by naming Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Harmison in a 14-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test against Australia at Headingley starting this week.

England, who lead the series 1-0 with two matches remaining, also included uncapped Warwickshire batsman Jonathan Trott in the squad for the match starting on Friday.

Monty Panesar was left out, meaning Graeme Swann will provide captain Andrew Strauss with the spinning option on what is normally a seamer-friendly pitch.

Harmison could replace Andrew Flintoff should the Lancashire all rounder's knee injury rule him out, while left-arm seamer Sidebottom comes into the squad just as Stuart Broad's place has come under threat after a disappointing series with the ball.

Sidebottom has not featured in a Test since this year's tour of the West Indies.

"We will need to carefully assess the pitch and the overhead conditions at Headingley before finalising our 11 for this Test and the inclusion of Stephen Harmison and Ryan Sidebottom will give us different types of pace bowling options," the ECB's national selector Geoff Miller said.

"Both players have been in good form for their counties in recent weeks and as selectors we are delighted that competition for places in the side is so strong."

Miller said they would not rush a decision on the 31-year-old Flintoff who ended up wicket-less at Edgbaston but hit form with the bat, with a fluent 74.

"We will continue to closely monitor Andrew Flintoff's fitness in the build-up to Headingley," Miller said.

"His right knee will be reassessed by our medical staff over the next 48 hours and no final decision on his availability will be taken until closer to the start of the Test match."

England's team director Andy Flower said the inclusion of South Africa born Trott did not mean Ravi Bopara's place at number three was under threat.

"We might want the extra batsman," Flower told Sky Sports News. "Ravi will bat at number three definitely at Headingley but Trott will be there if we want to pick a sixth batter if Flintoff is injured."

"We have planned for the eventuality if Flintoff does pull out but he is pretty confident he will be okay," added Flower on Flintoff's chances of recovering from the exertions of Edgbaston.

"He is a strong bloke, he has a strong body and a strong mind and a strong will and he definitely wants to play these last two Test matches."

Squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Graham Onions, Matt Prior, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.

Source:
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