England in India, 2005-06 February 26, 2006

England name Shah as further cover

Cricinfo staff

Owais Shah joins England's growing squad in India © Cricinfo Ltd
England have confirmed that Owais Shah has been called into the squad in India as additional cover ahead of the first Test at Nagpur on Wednesday. Marcus Trescothick flew home for personal reasons on Saturday and Michael Vaughan is still struggling with his knee injury.

Alastair Cook had already left the A tour in West Indies to join the senior squad - along with James Anderson as fast bowling cover - and now Shah brings cover for the middle order after Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood suffered back strains in the last week.

Shah was the favourite to get the nod, despite still recovering from a knee injury of his own, and has been pushing for a recall after a prolific domestic season in 2005. He has 15 ODIs under his belt and was preferred to Vikram Solanki and Ed Joyce who are also in West Indies.

Earlier David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, confirmed to Sky Sports that further reinforcements were needed, but that the replacement would be unlikely to play at Nagpur. "We need an extra body out there, but he wouldn't arrive there the night before the Test match so it would have to be extremely extreme circumstances for a man to travel half way round the world and then play for England."

He also admitted the current situation is making a tough tour even tougher. "Also allied to the cricketing injuries, there's gastric influenza spreading through the team. It's been a difficult time but everyone has to rally round. India was going to be a test, even with a fully fit squad. But everyone will rally round."

Graveney confirmed that if Vaughan fails to make the Test, Andrew Flintoff will lead England for the first time. "Let's hope Michael's fit because in these circumstances he's a key man. If that isn't the case, Flintoff will captain. The issue regarding [Paul] Collingwood and [Kevin] Pietersen seems to be better every day, as it does with Simon Jones."