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April 4, 2013
James Harris, the most sought-after player of the winter in county cricket, is one of four uncapped players in England's provisional 30-strong squad for the Champions Trophy.
But once again England remain determinedly opposed to Matt Prior's return to one-day international cricket as the Sussex wicketkeeper batsman does not even make the 30 despite a series of attacking displays for England in the Test arena.
His one-day record is mediocre, although arguably he is a much superior player these days. Measured against that was the desire of England's selectors to follow a consistent path and, as much as they desire a first England win in a major ICC 50-over event, to leave Prior to concentrate on reaching the start of the Ashes series in perfect fettle.
Prior made a bristling unbeaten hundred in the Auckland Test to give England a face-saving draw against New Zealand last month, and a share of the series, but it has not swayed the conviction of England's selectors that Jos Buttler or Craig Kieswetter offer better options in the 50-over format.
Harris will be one of the most eagerly-studied players in early season as he seeks to make a big impression with his new county, Middlesex, who won the battle for his transfer fought out by a dozen counties after he left struggling Glamorgan.
Harris is joined in the squad by the Warwickshire opening batsman, Varun Chopra, Yorkshire's belligerent middle-order batsman Gary Ballance, and the Warwickshire seam bowler, Chris Wright.
Although none of the four have strong chances of making the cut when the final 15 is named by the May 5 deadline, the long list is nevertheless more intriguing than the conservative list of 30 players announced earlier this week in the England Performance squad.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "This is a balanced squad which will provide the selectors with strong options in all areas and reflects players' performances for both the senior England teams and the England Lions and EPP squads over the winter period.
"With this country hosting the tournament for the first time since 2004, there will be every incentive for England to perform well and we anticipate intense competition for places in our final squad which will be named early next month."
England have never won a 50-over trophy at a major ICC event. The Champions Trophy features the best eight ODI teams in 15 matches between June 6-23 at The Oval, Edgbaston and Cardiff.
With just over two months until the opening game in Cardiff, additional tickets for all 15 matches will go on general sale at 10.30am on Monday 8 April, via icc-cricket.com or 0844 249 2013.
England provisional squad for Champions trophy
Alastair Cook (Essex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Rikki Clarke (Warwickshire), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), James Harris (Middlesex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Graham Onions (Durham), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Chris Wright (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
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