Bell and Harmison recalledAlex Crampton |
Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell has earnt an England recall in place of Andrew Flintoff for the first Test against Pakistan.
Bell was dropped following a disappointing tour of India, but on the previous tour against Pakistan he was one of the leading batsmen, and he also scored 74 for England A against Pakistan recently. It is expected that his and Paul Collingwood’s medium pace will complement the specialist bowlers.
Steve Harmison is also included after returning to the set up in the one-day series against Sri Lanka and he is one of five pace bowlers in the squad. Monty Panesar retains his place as the sole spinner despite the emergence of Middlesex all rounder Jamie Dalrymple, who took 4-61 against Pakistan for England A.
Matthew Hoggard’s availability for the match is still uncertain. David Graveney, chairman of selectors said to BBC radio: “Matthew’s injury will be reassessed by our medical staff on Tuesday, and we will give him the maximum time he needs to prove his fitness because he is the most experienced member of our attack.”
With Flintoff’s absence there will be huge pressure on Hoggard, should he be fit, and Harmison to lead the attack. England’s bowlers were taken apart by Sri Lanka in the recent ODI series, and all English parties will be hoping for a much improved showing.
Andrew Strauss (c), Marcus Trescothick, Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Geraint Jones (wk), Liam Plunkett, Matthew Hoggard, Sajid Mahmood, Steve Harmison, Jon Lewis, Monty Panesar