Prior dropped as Ambrose gets his chance
The England selectors sprung a major surprise as they unveiled their squads for the forthcoming ODI and Test series in New Zealand. Though Andrew Strauss has been recalled to the Test squad as anticipated, the shock omission is that of the wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has paid the price for one dropped catch too many in the Sri Lanka series.
The uncapped Warwickshire wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose wins a place in both squads at the expense of Prior, while Kent's offspinner James Tredwell has also been called up to the one-day squad for the first time. Strauss, who was dropped in October for the first time in his 43-Test career, will join up with the tour party in New Zealand after playing for Northern Knights in the State Shield and Twenty20 competitions.
"Tim Ambrose fully deserves an opportunity at this level following impressive performances for the England Performance Squad in India before Christmas and for Warwickshire last season," David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, said. "Matt Prior performed well with the bat in Sri Lanka and it has been a difficult decision to leave him out of this tour. But the selectors feel that he needs to further improve his wicket-keeping in order to realise his full potential in international cricket.
"Andrew Strauss needed a break from international cricket in our view and he will now be keen to re-establish himself in the Test side. His experience will be of benefit to the squad as a whole and his inclusion will also provide us with alternative options if required at the top of the batting order.
"James Tredwell has performed well for Kent in the domestic one-day game and continued to impress in India with the Performance Squad. This is an excellent opportunity for him to show that he can step up to the next level."
Meanwhile, the Sussex batsman Michael Yardy has been named as captain of a 13-man England Lions squad which will compete in the Duleep Trophy in India later this month. Monty Panesar will tour India with the Lions prior to joining up with England's Test squad in New Zealand.
England Test squad Michael Vaughan (capt), Tim Ambrose (wk), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Phil Mustard, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann.
England ODI squad Paul Collingwood (capt), Tim Ambrose (wk), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Phil Mustard, Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Chris Tremlett, Luke Wright.
England Lions squad Michael Yardy (capt), Kabir Ali, Michael Carberry, Steven Davies, Joe Denly, James Hildreth, Ed Joyce, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Alan Richardson, Jonathan Trott.