Warwickshire's Ian Bell has been preferred to Robert Key and Kevin Pietersen in the England squad for the series opener against Bangladesh at Lord's on Thursday week.
Bell's early season form - he has scored 482 runs at over 80 so far in the Championship - meant that the much-hyped Pietersen missed out. And David Graveney, England's head of selection, greeted the questions about Pietersen with an air of weary inevitability. "Kevin has received a lot of media attention and we had to make a choice between him and Graham Thorpe ... Graham did well last time out and is our most experienced player and we hope he'll recover from injury in time to win his 99th Test cap."
""I don't think I could have done any more in terms of the amount of runs I have scored," Bell explained. "It still came as a surprise. After all, Rob Key was the man in possession and he's had a decent start to the season, while Kevin did fantastically well in the one-dayers in South Africa, so it was never straightforward."
Jon Lewis, Gloucestershire's fast bowler, could make his debut after a good start to the season (he has taken 18 wickets at 22.55) and was preferred to the centrally-contracted James Anderson. Whether Lewis plays seems to depend on whether Simon Jones can recover from a back injury.
England squad Michael Vaughan (capt), Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Graham Thorpe, Ian Bell, Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones (wk), Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Simon Jones, Jon Lewis .