The Nottinghamshire left-arm seamer, Ryan Sidebottom, has been recalled to England's Test squad for the first time in six years, ahead of the second Test against West Indies at Headingley, starting on Friday. Sidebottom, 29, played a solitary Test against Pakistan at Lord's in 2001, but has not featured in international cricket since touring Zimbabwe with the one-day side in October that year.
England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said that Sidebottom's inclusion had been made to provide the squad with as many options as possible. "With Jon Lewis and Stuart Broad unavailable through injury, we were keen to identify a bowler who could add variety to the attack," said Graveney. "Ryan has been a consistent performer for Nottinghamshire over the last two seasons, is familiar with the Headingley pitch through his time with Yorkshire and deserves a further opportunity at this level."
The squad features two other changes. James Anderson, who was called up as cover for the Lord's Test, is back in his own right and is expected to slot into the vacancy left by Matthew Hoggard, who has failed a fitness test on his injured groin. And barring any other last-minute set-backs, Michael Vaughan is set to lead the side in what will be his first Test match since the tour of Pakistan 18 months ago.
"Vaughan came through his net session today without any adverse reaction," said David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors. Vaughan had been expected to lead England at Lord's, but was forced to withdraw after breaking his right index finger while batting for Yorkshire against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl two weeks ago. He takes the place of Middlesex's Owais Shah, who made just 6 and 4 against West Indies this week.
England's other injury concern, Andrew Flintoff, has been retained in the squad despite concerns about his troublesome left ankle. Though he practised at Headingley on Tuesday morning, he did not bowl as a precaution. Given the success of England's top-order at Lord's, it is highly unlikely that he would feature as a specialist batsman. "We will need to reassess Andrew's fitness over the next 48 hours," added Graveney. "Our plan is for him to bowl in practice on consecutive days to see if there is any further reaction to his ankle injury."
As for Hoggard, he has been forced to miss the match in front of his home fans, although it does at least give him a chance to spend the week with his wife Sarah, who recently gave birth to their first child, Ernie. "We are naturally disappointed to lose a bowler of Matthew Hoggard's calibre for this Test match," added Graveney, "but we remain optimistic that he will be available for the third Test.
Squad Michael Vaughan (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Kevin Pietersen, Matthew Prior (wk), Monty Panesar, Liam Plunkett, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss.