December 19, 2000

Salisbury dropped, Jason Brown shock selection in England squad

"Ian Salisbury played a full part as a member of our victorious side in Pakistan and while the door is certainly not closed on him for the future, we felt that he had a difficult time with the ball on tour and we needed to look at other options."

That sentence, attributed to chairman of selectors David Graveney in an official release by the ECB yesterday, means, when translated into English: Ian Salisbury had an awful tour of Pakistan and we've dropped him.

Salisbury's name was missing from the fifteen announced by the ECB yesterday for the three-Test tour of Sri Lanka in February and March 2001.

The thirty year-old Surrey leg-spinner, chosen ahead of rising Lancastrian Chris Schofield for the Pakistan series, took 5 wickets at 79.00 in the six first-class matches on tour. In three Tests his composite bowling figures were 69-8-193-1.

Salisbury, who has come and gone from the England team several times in the past eight years, should, however, believe Graveney when he says "the door is certainly not closed" on his Test future. After all, Robert Croft and Graeme Hick will both be on the plane to Colombo.

Salisbury, along with the injured Dominic Cork, are the only two players left out of the squad that defeated Pakistan 1-0 right at the death of the three- Test series which concluded last week. With Robert Croft one inclusion, the other name drafted into the fifteen is that of Northamptonshire off-spinner Jason Brown. The 26 year-old had an outstanding season with Northants after starting the year in the second eleven, finishing with 61 wickets in ten first-class appearances at an average of 20.62.

Brown had already been chosen for the England 'A' team to tour the West Indies early in the new year, and he will leave the A-squad in mid-February to link up with the full England side in Sri Lanka. Northants team-mate Graeme Swann will replace Brown in the Caribbean.

The full England squad to play three Tests against Sri Lanka: Nasser Hussain (capt), Michael Atherton, Jason Brown, Andrew Caddick, Robert Croft, Ashley Giles, Darren Gough, Graeme Hick, Matthew Hoggard, Paul Nixon, Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick, Graham Thorpe, Michael Vaughan, Craig White.

The squad for the one-day series in Sri Lanka, which follows the Tests in late March, poses few surprises. It is: Nasser Hussain (capt), Mark Alleyne, Andrew Caddick, Robert Croft, Mark Ealham, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Darren Gough, Graeme Hick, Nick Knight, Alan Mullally, Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick, Graham Thorpe, Craig White. Mullally's selection is subject to a fitness test, with Matthew Hoggard on standby.