England in New Zealand 2012-13

England omit Pietersen for New Zealand series

David Hopps

December 23, 2012

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen arrives back at Heathrow Airport after England's series win in India, London, December 18, 2012
Kevin Pietersen can put the airport trolley away for a while after being rested for England's one-day squads in New Zealand © PA Photos
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Kevin Pietersen has been omitted from England's one-day squads for their tour of New Zealand next year as England's selectors have accepted that he needs to rest to survive a heavy international schedule.

Formal rest periods have become ever more prevalent in England cricket, but Pietersen's absence from the New Zealand squads as England look to manage his workload is nevertheless a notable concession to the player so soon after his lengthy dispute with the England hierarchy.

Geoff Miller, England's national selector, said: "There are a number of players who we have decided not to select for parts of the competitive programme this winter as we look to manage their workloads effectively while ensuring we remain competitive across all formats. We feel this is the best way of keeping players as physically and mentally fresh as possible during a demanding 2013 and beyond.

"Kevin Pietersen will miss the limited overs tour of New Zealand with Graeme Swann missing the T20 leg of the tour. This approach also provides an opportunity for talented young players to gain more international experience which will be important for their development and the development of England sides in the future."

Pietersen is expected to play in the Test series in March before heading to India for the IPL ahead of the English season.

Since his much-publicised "reintegration" into the England set-up Pietersen has missed two Twenty20 series despite being one of the world's most outstanding players in this format. He was also rested for the two matches against India, but England still drew the series 1-1 after winning in Mumbai and registered their highest winning total in Twenty20 cricket in the process.

England's introduction of a job share in their coaching set-up, with Andy Flower running the Test squad and Ashley Giles taking charge of the the ODI and Twenty20 sides in the New Year, supervised by Flower as overall team director, is another recognition of cricket's demanding calendar.

England have played 44 matches in all formats this year and the ECB has now accepted that for players and management rest periods are essential if they are to maintain hunger, fitness and a stable family life.

England's T20 squad in New Zealand shows two changes from the original India party with Stuart Broad, recovered from a heel injury, returning to captain the side and Steven Finn also called up after back trouble. Jonny Bairstow, who left the T20 series against India early for personal reasons, is also named. England play two warm-up fixtures against a New Zealand XI in preparation for a three-match series starting on February 9 in Auckland.

For the three match ODI series, which begins on February 17 in Hamilton, Swann, James Anderson and Jonathan Trott return to the side after being rested for the ODI tour of India. As well as announcing squads for all three formats in New Zealand, England's selectors also put Joe Root in charge of the England Lions one-day tour of Australia in February, barely a week after his mentor, the former England captain Michael Vaughan, had identified him as a future England captain.

Root, who made his England Test debut earlier this month against India, will captain a Lions side in five one-day matches against Australia A which includes 12 members of the 2012 England Performance who have recently returned from India.

Reece Topley, Essex's left-arm quick bowler, has an opportunity to win his first England Lions cap alongside Gary Ballance, Varun Chopra, Ben Foakes, Toby Roland-Jones and Chris Wright.

Twenty20 squad: Stuart Broad (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Stuart Meaker, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, James Tredwell, Luke Wright.

ODI squad: Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott.

Lions squad: Joe Root, Gary Balance, Scott Borthwick, Danny Briggs, Varun Chopra, Matthew Coles, Ben Foakes, Alex Hales, James Harris, Simon Kerrigan, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Reece Topley, James Vince, Chris Wright.

This article was updated on December 23 at 6.25pm after the ECB advised that James Vince had been omitted from the Lions squad because of an administrative error.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (December 26, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

why Owais shah is not Being used Especially for T20?

Posted by landl47 on (December 25, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

@brusselslion: you can add James Harris and Matt Coles to the list of prospects. Harris, for a young player, has a long and impressive resume and Coles is not only a useful bowler but a good lower order batsman, too. Chris Wright had an excellent season for Warwickshire, but at 27 he might be just an ordinary bowler who had a good season. It's great to see, though, that his achievement has been rewarded with at least a look at Performance Squad level.

I agree that Topley looks the pick of the young bowlers and being left-handed doesn't hurt either. He was easily the best bowler on show in the under-19 world cup this year.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (December 25, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

It seems that common sense is at last prevailing in the England selection camp? Everybody concerned must have had quite a shock at the recent 'Pietersengate' saga & it seems that concessions have been made. It's important for KP & others to keep their powder dry for the Aussies. Back to back Ashes could see a remarkable turnaround in the long term status of English cricket. Like India, the Aussies are ripe for picking, Alastair Cook's captaincy and form have been sensational and it seems that if at least one batter has a sensational series that the Aussies will suffer. Examples that spring to mind are Chris Broad in Oz, Trott+Bell+KP also in Oz recently. Add the class and maturity of Matt Prior to the spin twins (Monty and Swann) and it's just a question of who accompanies Jimmy with the new ball attack? But I'm jumping the gun a little; as we have NZ first and then the main course (twice)..... it going to be a great 12 months and some real opposition to come! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by dabhand on (December 25, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

@hira1 - you may, others may but 'we all' don't want to see him in T20s - T20s are for fun, testing young up and coming players, spectators have no need to concentrate or even understand it, but test cricket is what is important to the English management and it requires a total different skill set (as dose 50 over) which should not be undermined by bish bash boff cricket.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 25, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

@Hira1 on (December 24 2012, 18:48 PM GMT) OK - and I've said myself that I'd prefer to see him in the ODI/T20 fmts and rested from the tests , but as I said before , the example of Wright totally disproves your theory about KP not playing in the Big Bash

Posted by brusselslion on (December 24, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

Like others, the Woakes omission puzzles me.

The Aussies go on - with some justification in fairness - about their young fast men, however, we are not too badly placed ourselves. Finn's pretty much established; Meaker's on the fringes. If Broad can return to something approaching form and one - or more - of Topley, Roland Jones, Woakes or Stokes can come through then we'll be laughing. I think Topley could the pick of the bunch if he fills out and adds a yard of pace - tall, quick, accurate and left-handed. Let's hope he "trains on" as the racing boys might say.

Posted by brusselslion on (December 24, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

Like others, the Woakes omission puzzles me.

The Aussies go on - with some justification in fairness - about their young fast men, however, we are not too badly placed ourselves. Finn's pretty much established; Meaker's on the fringes. If Broad can return to something approaching form and one - or more - of Topley, Roland Jones, Woakes or Stokes can come through then we'll be laughing. I think Topley could the pick of the bunch if he fills out and adds a yard of pace - tall, quick, accurate and left-handed. Let's hope he "trains on" as the racing boys might say.

Posted by ZsZs on (December 24, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

That is a nice problem to have for a country where there are young players waiting in the wings. It is a win-win solution. I love Pietersen - and want to see him for a long time.

Posted by Hira1 on (December 24, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

@JG2704 there is some cricketers who are beyond the game and KP is one of those specially for his fans like us and that is why he is getting more media attention than any other players, right now my point only is that KP is at his prime in T20 and we all wants to see him in that format and England has not done very well in T20 without him so why keep him out in that format?

Posted by S-Matrix on (December 24, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

@anuajm: the whole point of having separate teams is to cultivate players with different skills. England would rather have Cook the Test batsman than risk losing him for T20 exploits.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 24, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

@anuajm on (December 24 2012, 17:23 PM GMT) Personally I wouldn't play Cook in T20s. While I think he could do an ok job , I think Hales is doing a decent job and Lumb on his day can do a job too and that's not to mention KP if/when he comes back into the side. To be honest I'm fairly happy with the batting as it is and captaining all 3 sides and playing in all 3 forms I feel would lead to burn out etc and captaining the side would also I presume mean he has to play every match. I think England are developing a policy of limiting the appearances made by test players in the shorter formats anyway. I don't feel we have a natural leader in T20 who isn't continually being rested. Morgan may get better with experience

Posted by anuajm on (December 24, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

My questions to the English cricket fans, why is Cook not considered for 20-20's? Not only will he solve the captaincy problem (Broad should be left alone for bowling only), but he will also solve the opening conundrum for the team. I see his domestic record, i am sure he can score at 120-125 odd every match, more importantly with his appetite for runs, he'll definitely be averaging above 30. He will bring that consistency at the top which can then be leveraged by the power hitters of England team down the order. I think the selectors have just assumed he is not cut for 20-20's. Look how he has transformed himself to a solid one day player.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (December 24, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

I agree with most other posters in being confused as to why Woakes is not being picked, to me he is the most genuine all rounder prospect we have had for a long time. Hira your conspiracy theories seem a bit fanciful, the IPL will fizzle itself out naturally I would imagine.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (December 24, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

How come KP needs resting for three t20 and one ODI series out of 3 t20 and 2 odi series since his reintroduction, yet Samit Patel has been picked for all 5 series despite looking hopelessly jaded in the last round of games?

Posted by JG2704 on (December 24, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

Re Dernbach , it seems that he officially IS the Ian Bell of the T20 game. Personally I've seen him in the domestic game and he looks good but in the international game he looks all at sea. I think he overthinks the game and overdoes his variations to a degree that they become predictable. I think he and all our quicks should be bowling more Yorkers

Posted by JG2704 on (December 24, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

@Hira1 on (December 24 2012, 07:59 AM GMT) Full of your conspiracy theories as ever. 1stly - I disagree with him being rested from the ODI/T20s and would give KP the test series off so he can play IPL and it also gives England a chance to look at some younger players in tests not to mention strengthening our shorter formats. 2 - Unless ECB have categorically said KP could not play Big Bash (which may or not be the case) KP could have played some part in that tournament. Luke Wright played in the Big Bash before joining England for the T20s and KP would have had more time in BB as he was not joining the ODI squad until Jan. 3 - This was almost definitely discussed/agreed in the lengthy talks between both parties. If KP wants to play IPL , I say let him but if that's the reason he wants time off he should be honest about it. BTW there is more to cricket than KP

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (December 24, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

So I guess this is the compromise they reached. KP gets the time off he wanted to spend with family while still playing test and IPL.

Posted by Hira1 on (December 24, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

ECB did picked him for ODI against India so that he may not participate in Big Bash similarly they now rested him on Feb tour so that he can play full NZ tour in Mar-Apr when England tour NZ in this way he can only play part of IPL .......further ECB is keeping KP out of T20 so that his popularity/rating in T20 decreases, ECB is not doing any good to KP but more importantly its not fair on his fans and cricket lovers who wanted to see him more on T20, its long we have not seen him playing T20 cricket, and that is so sad

Posted by Robster1 on (December 24, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

KP won't miss the IPL....Kieswetter and Dernbach must be on their last chance by now.

Posted by fan2011 on (December 24, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

that's just brutal.. the man wanted to retire from ODI's and keep playing t20's so what does the English board do, not pick for the t20's and select him for the ODI's.. and now under the gust of rest they don't pick him up for both ODI and T20..

Isn't this what the guy wanted in first place? why couldn't they just let him play t20 and test him for the ODI through out the rest of his career.

If i was KP i would have just requested for rest of said not available for Selection during the ODI leg of the tours

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

So, once again, the great Kevin is allowed to pick and choose where and when he plays. Stop pandering to him.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

I dont understand why some English fans here making a fuss about him missing a part of a tournament and attending IPL.I am not an IPL supporter, but if he chooses to play IPL and can still commit to major English tours, so be it.It seems he has a good understanding with cook,arent we glad there is no more drama?

Posted by simon_w on (December 24, 2012, 2:29 GMT)

My first reaction: where's Woakes? but I see I'm not the only one...

personally, I'd drop Dernbach and Kieswetter, and I don't think Broad is a great choice for captain, either, for a variety of reasons.

oh -- and though it's been said a couple of times already, it seems some can't or won't read, so i'll say it again: KP being rested has nothing to do with the IPL. the IPL clashes with the Test series, not the ltd. overs tour, and KP will play for England then, before joining the IPL afterwards.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

Phew. So, Dernbach has *at last* been omitted from the ODI squad; hopefully, his exclusion from the T20 squad will follow soon afterwards, before he loses us vital games in that format as well. Why Kieswetter's still a part of England's ODI plans is also something of a mystery: why do we need *three* keeper/batsmen in NZ when Buttler's already proved himself worthy of further opportunities, while Bairstow's going as well? I have to say, I was also hoping that Morgan's T20 success in India would also lead to him displacing Broad as captain on a permanent basis - not least because Broad needs all the R&R he can get if he's to rediscover his mojo ahead of the Ashes marathon - but I suppose Broad's retention is understandable in the context of Andy Flower's emphasis on continuity. It's very sensible to give Swann a rest, but I'm not so sure about KP, as he's only played those four Tests against India since his 're-integration'. It'd be a huge mistake to permanently freeze him out of T20s.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 0:07 GMT)

Like almost everyone else, I'm baffled by Chris Woakes's exclusion from both short-format squads. One can only hope it's because he's already playing for Wellington & could therefore be whistled up at short notice. I sincerely hope, however, that he does so well during the India ODI series that the selectors will have little option but to add him as an official member of either or both squads. Ideally, I'd also like to see him tried out as a genuine all-rounder at Six or Seven in the NZ tour Test side. Looking back at our Ashes victories since the 60s, all-rounders as part of a five-man attack have been absolutely pivotal to the vast majority of our successes: d'Oliveira in 70-71, Greig & Botham in 77, Botham in 78-79, 81 & 86-87, & Flintoff in 05 & 09. In 10-11 we didn't have anyone of sufficient quality to fulfil that role, but now that we do it seems perverse to continue to cold-shoulder him, especially given that his overall FC stats are vastly superior to both Broad's & Bresnan's.

Posted by Meety on (December 23, 2012, 23:45 GMT)

I don't think that either of England's short form sides look all that strong, so I am amazed like I think others are, that Woakes doesn't get a look in. IMO - he is also the #6 England are looking for in Test cricket. Curious as to know why? The brief International exposure has hinted that his domestic form is no fluke, yet blokes who have really not set the world alight like Patel & Dernbach keep getting the nod. I would pick Woakes in every England squad. In terms of ODIs, in the last 2 years, (of Eng bowlers playing more than one match), Woakes has the best S/Rate & E/R that is comparable to all the other bowlers used. IMO he has been in his brief appearances more effective than Bresnan, Broad & Anderson. The other bloke that I think is getting the raw prawn atm is Shahzad.

Posted by HawK89 on (December 23, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

Good to see more seniors to take a rest, because NZ's first choice bowling attack is far better than australia's and will make quick work of new batsmen. Personally I would like to have seen Pietersen over this side of the world, we don't often see world class batsmen here.

Posted by CricketCoachDB on (December 23, 2012, 21:14 GMT)

I'm a huge admirer of Woakes, he really deserves a chance. His bowling is massively under-rated, and his batting good enough for him to bat at 7 and Prior at 6. Then we could pick a balanced attack in any conditions, whether it be 3 seamers and 2 spinners or 4 seamers and one spinner. I'm just hoping they think he'll benefit from playing for Wellington in competitive games and be available for England selection if required. Is it a case of Flower doesn't rate him? Because Ashley Giles most certainly does!

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 21:05 GMT)

Just remind me... When does the IPL start again?

Posted by jackthelad on (December 23, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

I adore the idea that Pietersen will be given a rest by allowing him to play in the IPL rather than for England; a change is as good as ...?

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 23, 2012, 20:07 GMT)

@ Gagg, LOL, The Grimsby 3rd 11 would beat Australia right now. No shame in getting beaten by them.

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 17:50 GMT)


To say I am a fan of Woakes would be incorrect - I groan every time I see him walking out onto the pitch against Hampshire, because I know he's about to ruin everything :(

For England, however, it would be great to see!

Posted by xylo on (December 23, 2012, 17:02 GMT)

I believe that the Selectors understood that it is New Zealand rather than the selectors understanding that KP has been overworked.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 23, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

I think maybe giving KP a bit of time off is not a bad thing as this is rest and relaxation without controversy.There will be nothing hanging over him. Sometimes the head needs it as much as the body,more maybe.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 23, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

I'd be interested to know whether this decision was made in consultation with KP. We know that he wanted more time off and it looks like he's getting it, but is what he's getting what he wants or what the ECB thinks he wants or what the ECB wants? I doubt that they'd want to be showing him favourable treatment by consulting with him on his time off while not doing so for other players. Presumably this was all discussed during the recent reintegration process. On another note, I too am disappointed not to see Woakes' name even included for the Lions squad. He seems to have become a bit of a forgotten man. Hopefully he gets a game in the India ODIs and forces a rethink by the selectors, for future squads if not these ones. Also good to see Hales in the Lions ODI squad. If Bell doesn't continue to succeed opening the batting then Hales might break into the ODI squad. He's 7 years younger than Bell, so his time may come even if Bell doesn't lose form.

Posted by Trickstar on (December 23, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

Yes I'd like to see Woakes in the squads and I actually picked him in my best T20 side instead of Patel but tbh I don't think one day cricket is his best format particularly bowling but we know that. Although he could do a similar job to what Bresnan does but Woakes batting is better. I mean when you look through both squads who could you drop for him, especially when most of the players are new don't really deserve dropping. Dernbach is the obvious name but the Coaches probably want to give a him a chance away from the sub continent and ateotd he's one of the best one day bowlers in County cricket, although he seems to have gone back since he's been picked. I actually had high hopes for him last summer, when he performed well against SL. Not sure why anyone would be questioning Broad's inclusion in the one day side, yes he hasn't been at his best in test cricket but he's still one of our best shorter format bowlers, the Captaincy is a different issue altogether.

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

Woakes is in the Indian OD squad, let's hope he performs well and gets back in the NZ tour squad if anyone gets injured.

Posted by StevieS on (December 23, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

It wouldn't matter if England picked the Grimsby 3rd 11 to tour, they will still beat us as long as our current crop of muppets is still running the show.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 23, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

Are England maybe overdoing the resting of players. I understand with Swann who has had injury problems but surely over the summer period up until now KP has played the least cricket of all our players (or at least all those who have not been injured). My suggestion - and it may not go down well in some quarters - is to have KP playing all the shorter format stuff and give him the whole NZ test series off. To me that means we keep our T20/ODI squads strengthened and give KP the whole IPL window. To me KP is more important as an ODI/T20 player and (this isn't meant to sound arrogant) we should be able to beat NZ without KP. Agree with most other posts esp re Woakes (and he may not be suited to shorter forms but not being in any squad is totally baffling) . Wright should be given a chance in the ODI squad and I'd question Patel's selection if he's not bowling any overs

Posted by A.Ak on (December 23, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

India test series is over. This is Expected...

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 23, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

Re Woakes-since this is the main commenting point-do they know something we do not? To be honest he seems certainly like the guy we would like to see succeed. Re Dernbach-I understand the selection which I think has an element of the selectors desiring that he becomes the international version of what he can do. sometimes it works. He looks like a great innovator even if the execution is not always perfect.Look again down the track!

Posted by sjm5000 on (December 23, 2012, 13:55 GMT)

The omission of Woakes does seem strange, hope he doesn't get marginalized like Taylor for some perceived fatal flaw (not fast enough?) Maybe they'll put him in the test squad. Think Meaker is a much better long term bet than Dernbach. Persevering with Patel? It seems to have worked with Wright, but I can't see it ever working with Kieswetter. Maybe Patel is fortunate as all other bits and pieces men tend to be quicker bowlers, so he does give some variety. Looks like Ravi B is gone for good. Bit a Ramprakash style waste of talent.

Posted by Tone543 on (December 23, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

I agree it's mystifying about Chris Woakes. He's a genuine number 7 who could score lots of runs at international level.

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 13:13 GMT)

Fully agree with Ben Tumilty, where is Woakes?

Posted by TFERGI on (December 23, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

Agree on Chris Woakes, Patel has also had enough chancesfor me and not been up to scratch.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 23, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

What has happened to Chris Woakes? I saw him a few years ago playing Australia, now he has disappeared. This guy is a must in T20 and ODI squads for England.

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

Time for Kieswetter to be dropped from the OD squad and to bring Hales in, use Bairstow as keeper with Buttler as back up because Kieswetter just isn't good enough!

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

What a joke. England's cricket board will give in to KP's demands on the basis he is that good. How many other players play more and do not require any rest.


On top of this, KP just had a massive break with the recent falling out with the board. Not to mention being rested after the Indian test series. How much rest does he need? Hes paid to play, time to buck up kiddo. If anything, Cook is the one to deserve a rest.

Posted by CricketChat on (December 23, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

Not sure why Broad was retained as T20 captain. His performance on the recent Ind tour are anything but inspiring to even warrant selection in the team much less being made captain which means he is certain to play all matches whether he contributes or not.

Posted by Optic on (December 23, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

Already read a few silly comments about KP is only missing the one day series to play the IPL, lol no, the one day leg is in February and the IPL is in April, the two have nothing to do with each other and KP goes to the IPL after the test series finishes. It's going to be the first series in ages where we have the one day stuff before the tests, imo this is the best way to do it because this way the one day series means so much more because teams feel they it generates momentum going into the test if you win and often one day series seem like such an anti climax.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 23, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

I believe that at least one of those Lions games is going to be played at the SCG so I think I might go and watch it. I'm particularly interested to see Reece Topley bowl.

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

WHERE IS CHRIS WOAKES?! What in all hell are the selectors doing?! How does Jade Dernbach get a gig ahead of Woakes?! Unless the selectors want him to get experience by playing NZ domestic cricket, but even so... This seems a poor decision from the ECB.

Posted by Maxyboy_123 on (December 23, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

I would have liked to seen Luke Wright given another chance in the ODIs, maybe ahead of Samit Patel? He seems to have matured as a cricketer.

Posted by   on (December 23, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

Patel in the ODI and 20/20 jesus bet he will be picked as well. Wonder why Keisy is only in the ODI and not in the 20 20 as well has some thing gone on?

Posted by Trickstar on (December 23, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

Although the conspiracy theorists will be in over drive, it's a good call to manage the workloads of players like KP, Swann, Anderson & Trott, especially with such a huge year coming up. With Back to back NZ test series, then back to back Ashes and then a home Champions Trophy to try to win, we certainly need everyone fit and firing. It's not as if this is the first time he's been rested from a series , he missed the one day series against India at home last year. Does look like the ECB are keeping him away from Twenty20 cricket though, or is that just me imagining it. Great to see the likes of Toby Roland-Jones & Reece Topley in the Lions squads, two cracking young bowlers with huge futures ahead of them.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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