November 2, 2001

England call up Ball and Johnson for India tour

Media Release

The Somerset pace bowler, Richard Johnson, and the Gloucestershire off-spinner, Martyn Ball, have been called up by England as replacements for Andrew Caddick and Robert Croft for this winter's Test series in India.

Johnson, 26, who was called up to the England squad for the Trent Bridge, Headingley and Oval Test Matches against Australia this summer but did not make the starting eleven, is included after picking up 62 First Class wickets for his new county this season. The Warwickshire all-rounder Dougie Brown will replace Johnson in England's squad for the Hong Kong Sixes event on November 10-11.

Ball, 31, wins his place after a successful season with Gloucestershire in which he picked up 34 First Class wickets at a cost of 25.85 runs apiece.

Chairman of Selectors, David Graveney, said: "It was a close call as to who was going to replace Andrew Caddick. We considered Chris Silverwood and Martin Bicknell as well as Richard Johnson. But we opted for Richard because he has the ability to swing the ball at pace, hits the deck hard and can bowl long spells. He has also taken wickets on one of the best batting pitches in the country at Taunton and is likely to face similar conditions in India.

"Having talked to Dean Conway and taken advice from medical specialists, we believe that Ashley Giles' recovery from his achilles injury is very much on track. While he still has to regain his cricket fitness, we are confident from a medical point of view that he will pass a fitness test next week and be available for selection in India.

"In the light of this, we decided to look for a 'like-for-like' replacement for Robert Croft. Martyn Ball had a very good season in four-day cricket with Gloucestershire and has been an integral part of their success in limited overs cricket in recent years. He is used to the big match atmosphere having played in several Lord's finals, is an outstanding slip-catcher and a good team man."

Martyn Ball said: "I was ecstatic when David Graveney phoned me with the news and will be thrilled to bits to be getting on the plane with the rest of the squad. As a 31-year-old, I did wonder if perhaps my chance of an England cap might have gone. But the last season with Gloucestershire went extremely well for me and I feel that I have matured both as a spinner and with the bat during that time."

Richard Johnson said: "I'm very happy to have been chosen and after being involved in the summer hopefully I will get a chance to show everyone what I can do. It didn't really enter my head not to go on tour. This might be the only opportunity I get with England and I want to try and take it. But it is a difficult decision for people to make and I accept that not everyone faces the same set of circumstances as I do."