The Ashes 2009 June 22, 2009

Vaughan and Harmison left out of Ashes squad

Cricinfo staff

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, and Steve Harmison have both been left out of England's pre-Ashes camp ahead of the much-anticipated series against Australia which begins later this month, but England named three spinners, including Adil Rashid, as the first Test at Cardiff is expected to offer turn.

The pre-Ashes camp squad of 16 includes Ian Bell, who was dropped following the defeat to West Indies at Sabina Park in the winter, along with Monty Panesar, Rashid, Andrew Flintoff and Tim Bresnan. Panesar has struggled for form this summer, turning in a worryingly poor performance in Cardiff last week when he took 2 for 149 from 44 overs, but Rashid impressed for England during their World Twenty20 campaign.

Harmison has had a productive couple of weeks in county cricket following his return from shin problems. In the recent Championship match against Warwickshire, at Edgbaston, he took 5 for 44 on a flat surface and gave the batsmen a real working over to make it 16 wickets in two games. Instead, the selectors have gone for Graham Onions, Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom as back-up to James Anderson and Stuart Broad, the first-choice seamers. Harmison was, however, selected for the England Lions squad to face Australia on July 1.

"The pre-Ashes camp is designed to give Andy Flower and the rest of the management team an opportunity to meet with the players ahead of their series and begin their preparations in earnest," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "We will continue to consider players outside the 16 chosen for the camp and will closely monitor performances in domestic cricket as the international season progresses. The door has not been closed on any player at this stage."

There was no place for James Foster, whose two deft stumpings during England's World Twenty20 campaign reminded everyone of his class behind the stumps. That mantle falls on the incumbent, Matt Prior, who has shown impressive consistency with the bat for England, even if he may not be quite the same standard of wicketkeeper as Foster. Prior is expected to bat at No. 6, and slotting in behind him will be Flintoff, who has completed two Championship matches for Lancashire where he has collected wickets and scored a half-century since returning from surgery.

Vaughan, who led England to regain the Ashes in 2005, has made only 159 runs at 19.88 for Yorkshire this season and, though he has made clear his intention to resume his international career, it seems increasingly unlikely unless, as Miller said, he scores a mountain of runs.

"Michael Vaughan will, of course, be disappointed not to have been included," Miller said. "But I met with Michael recently and he understands that he needs to make runs consistently in county cricket if he is to force his way back into the squad.

"We are pleased to welcome Andrew Flintoff and Ryan Sidebottom back to the Test squad after recovering from injury and Adil Rashid's inclusion reflects our view that he is maturing all the time as a cricketer and has the potential to develop still further."

An England XI are due to play a three-day match against Warwickshire on July 1, but the side selected for that game may still change for the first Ashes Test.

"We have chosen two spinners in our side to face Warwickshire, but this does not necessarily mean that we will opt for the same balance in our bowling attack in the 1st Ashes Test," Miller said. "An extra pace bowler still remains an option for our starting line-up at Cardiff."

The England Lions squad, meanwhile, is led by Ian Bell, who hasn't played for England since their defeat to West Indies at Sabina Park in the winter. The squad's pace attack features Harmison along with Sajid Mahmood, who has shown excellent pace for Lancashire this season, along with Graham Onions. The young Worcestershire wicketkeeper Steven Davies takes the gloves while there were places for Eoin Morgan, Vikram Solanki and Kent's Joe Denly.

The decision to appoint Bell captain is noteworthy. After he was told to "show more hunger" by Miller at the start of the season, he has since gone on to score 477 runs at 79.50 in the Championship, and his elevation to captaincy reflects the selectors' desire to hand him greater responsibility if he is to force his way back into the England team.

"In choosing the two teams for the matches at Edgbaston and Worcester, we were also mindful of the need to field a very strong England Lions side against Australia and the inclusion of four bowlers with Test match experience and Ian Bell as captain demonstrates this," Miller said. "We are keen to make the match at Worcester a tough one for Australia and plan to give all the players in the Lions team the maximum opportunity to press their case for selection."

The squad announcement for the first Ashes Test will be named on July 6, 24 hours later than originally planned, and just two days before the series gets underway.

England Test squad for pre-Ashes camp
Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann

England XI to face Warwickshire
Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ravi Bopara, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior (wk), Graeme Swann

England Lions squad to face Australia
Ian Bell (capt), Tim Bresnan, Joe Denly, Steven Davies (wk), Steve Harmison, Sajid Mahmood, Stephen Moore, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Adil Rashid, Vikram Solanki

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhammed Umer on June 24, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    form is always temporary, class is always permanent. you do not drop vaughan and harmison, its just not cricket!!!!! they are senior players capable of rising to the occassion and a little lack of form in county cricket cannot be the assessment of vaughans capability. harmison even when he is not taking wickets creates opportunities for the other bolwers to take them. anderson and broad are good bolwers but to expect them to bowl out the australian line up is asking them a tad too much, they r good but no harmisons they are.

    get harmison and vaughan back, win the ashes, lay back and enjoy a pint.

  • Shoaib on June 24, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    Reasonably predictable squad. Why do Irish players not have to sit out 4 years if they want to change allegiance to England? Morgan before T20, Joyce before the 07WC, both played for Ireland only months before playing for England.

  • Colin on June 23, 2009, 19:58 GMT

    Vaughan is not scoring runs NOW regardless of what has happened in the past. Harmison's blown his England chance, although Broad still has a lot of work to do. James Foster should be in the squad at least, but I'd imagine he's effectively reserve keeper anyway. Davies is only in the Lions team because it's on his home ground. Strauss-Cook-Bopara-Pietersen-Collingwood-Prior-Flintoff-Swann-Sidebottom-Anderson-Onions

  • Paul on June 23, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    There's clearly problems with the squad both in players and composition. Most glaringly is the absence of a reserve opener for such a long tour. What happens if the skipper or Cook get an injury an hour before the toss? This was one of the advantages to including Vaughan, apart from his experience, as he could cover as the opener and middle order. Secondly, in picking three spinners they've simply avoided deciding on who their best two spinners are, and in so doing have had to not take a reserve wicketkeeper (when is the last time that was done in an Ashes test?) which is the biggest risk of all. Speaking of which, the T20 WC should have showed them why they need to pick Foster! Picking a batsman with concrete hands who is basically a backstop, all b/c they dont think Freddy's batting is once what it was, is poor. Pick the best keeper (who knows, he might bat well like he does in County) and put it on Freddy to perform like in 05.

  • Michael on June 23, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    I do not think anyone could really have expected differently which is reassuring, as the side mostly picks itself. I looked for exciting surprises and found only Adil and two other spinners, but I do not really think they will play more than one(Swann). The wicket keeper argument goes on but Prior is such a good batsman that it would be dangerous to prefer Foster though the latter is class behind the stumps. Sadly for all Harmison has blown it for England,and needs to look at himself over the summer. I suspect Jones would have played in a wheelchair if allowed-that's the difference between the two men,spirit. I'm glad Bell is there but hopefully Bopara will be such a success that Warney goes horribly quiet for most of the summer. Vaughan is a great player but hasn't done it of late. Apart from an alternative opener in case of injury I don't think the selectors could have done better.

  • Sterling on June 23, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    With all due respect, Mr. Flintoff is being rushed back in to Test cricket again. I am speaking about a man who has a bowling average higher than a batting average and a bowling strike rate higher that a batting strike rate. Surely we can find a suitable replacement while this man mends properly. A regular up and down Joe from the county circuit who can give you the same below par performances.

  • Jarrod on June 23, 2009, 9:49 GMT

    Eoin Morgan should be playing for Ireland, not for England B. Imperialism finished in 1945; why is it that England still plunders the resources of Ireland for its own "gain"?

    On topic, Adil Rashid deserves a test cap, especially over Panesar. An England side that can truly bat to 10 is daunting. I'd be worried about Australia getting 20 wickets a match, especially with what is a fairly average bowling attack by Australian standards.

  • Robert on June 23, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Don't the selectors learn the lesson of Geraint Jones? I predict that the runs cost by Prior's missed chances will far outweigh what he scores with the bat. Pick your best wicketkeeper - Read or Foster

  • Matthew on June 23, 2009, 3:08 GMT

    I think that this English side is a bit light on for bowling, especially real quality pace bowling. Perhaps England are covering for this by selecting 9 bowlers in a squad of 16. We all know how damaging Flintoff can be when he is fully fit but there must be a question over his fitness, and James Anderson has been bullied by the Australians every time he has played them, so he will be under immense pressure.

    As for the rest of them no-one is of the calibre of a Johnson, Steyn, Sharma and compared to the pace battery of 2005 this English attack is merely a shadow of what they once were.

    The batting looks fairly solid but I am surprised that Vaughan was not picked(surely he is of more use than a 9th bowler!) as he has dominated Australia in the past. The Aust team is also weaker than in 05 however, no quality spinner and a somewhat weak middle order, with Hussey out of form and North,Mcdonald still largely unproven.

    This will be a tight series, predicting a 3-1 win to aust

  • Kumail on June 23, 2009, 2:43 GMT

    I am not understanding double standards of Selectors. Vaughn the best captain of England is not selected becoz he is not showing good performance in domestic. Then why Monty Panesar is selected??? His domestic performance is also very bad.

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