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June 2, 2012
England have omitted James Anderson from their squad for the third Test against West Indies, which starts on Thursday. Anderson suffered a minor quad problem during England's nine-wicket victory at Trent Bridge and, with the series already won, the selectors have decided to rest the bowling attack's leader in order to keep him fresh for the rest of the summer. Anderson's new-ball partner, Stuart Broad, has been included in an otherwise unchanged 12-man squad.
Broad could also be told to put his feet up, with Steven Finn and Graham Onions available to step in as seam-bowling cover. Broad, who is England's T20I captain, missed the second Test against Sri Lanka in April, as well as a planned stint in the IPL, with a calf injury and a decision on his involvement is expected nearer the start of the Edgbaston Test. Both Anderson and Broad have bowled more than 100 overs in the series so far.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "We have been made to work hard for our two victories so far and are delighted to have secured the series, however we know that we will need to continue to play some good cricket if we want a third win against the West Indies this week.
"James Anderson will miss this Test as we look to manage his workload ahead of a busy period of cricket this summer and beyond, a decision which is in the best interests of the team and James himself."
England are due to play West Indies in three ODIs and a T20 international after the Tests, followed by a five-match ODI series against Australia, starting at the end of June. That will be followed by three Tests against South Africa, which will decide the No. 1 Test ranking, then five more one-day internationals and a three-match T20I series finishing on September 12. Nine days later, England will begin their defence of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Although Anderson has not played for England's T20 team since 2009, he has previously expressed a desire to break back into the side. His value in Tests, where he is ranked No. 3 in the world, is undisputed, however, and writing in his Mail on Sunday column he said it would be "extremely disappointing" to miss out against West Indies.
"It would be different if I felt fatigued or was struggling with an injury," he said. "But I believe I am fit to play - and while I am fit to play I want to play in every England game I can. Resting players is going to happen more and more often as the schedule gets busier and the ECB has been excellent at monitoring players to keep them fit and ready."
England are 2-0 up in the three-Test series against West Indies and had been widely expected to rest at least one member of the pace attack. Finn stood in for Broad in Sri Lanka in April, taking three wickets as England squared the series, and also replaced Anderson against the same opposition at Lord's last year. A side strain ruled Anderson out of that match - the only Test he has missed since being rested for the 2010 tour of Bangladesh.
Finn became the youngest Englishman to take 50 Test wickets in the same Test but was unable to retain his place and then slipped behind Tim Bresnan in a lengthy fast-bowling queue when injuries struck down Chris Tremlett. Finn has, however, become a key component of the one-day side and was the leading wicket-taker as England whitewashed Pakistan 4-0 in the UAE.
Onions, who last played international cricket more than two years ago before suffering a career-threatening back injury, is also included and, if England decide to rest Broad as well, may get to resume a Test career that left off with two memorable rearguard batting actions during the drawn series in South Africa in 2010. Onions claimed career-best first-class figures on Saturday, with an 11-wicket haul in Durham's defeat by Lancashire, and only Andre Adams has more than his 34 Championship scalps so far this season.
The continuity in England's selection policy means Jonny Bairstow is likely to get another chance to further his claims on the No. 6 spot, unless Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss decide to change the balance of the side and play five bowlers. Bairstow scored 16 and 0 not out on his debut at Lord's, before being worked over by a series of short deliveries from Kemar Roach in making 4 during the second Test, but England will almost certainly want to have a further look at him before the arrival of South Africa next month.
England squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Graham Onions
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