The England selectors have named an unchanged 15-man squad for their forthcoming tour of the West Indies. Unchanged, that is, except for the all the chopping and changing that took place in the course of the trips to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The upshot is that Stephen Harmison has been recalled after missing the entire Sri Lanka series with a back injury, and there is no place for either James Kirtley or Richard Johnson, two stand-in bowlers who stood out at various stages of the trip. At this stage, there is also no place for Simon Jones, who had been widely tipped for a recall - but with an additional seam bowler to be named prior to the team's departure, Jones stands every chance of a late inclusion.
"We believe this squad contains the right blend of youth and experience to meet the challenges we will face in the Caribbean," said David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors. "Stephen Harmison has recovered from the back injury which ruled him out of the Sri Lanka Test series, and we expect that there will be keen competition for places in the pace-bowling department.
"The reports we have had from the National Academy indicate that Simon Jones is making good progress in his recovery from a knee injury," added Graveney. "As Simon has been out of first-class cricket for more than a year, we will be closely monitoring his form and fitness on the A team's tour of India with a view to adding him to the Test squad in the Caribbean."
Andrew Caddick was not considered for selection, although he may yet be fit in time for the start of the English season, following a lengthy layoff with a back injury. Johnson, meanwhile, is to undergo an operation on his right knee, but England intend to add two seamers to their one-day squad after the Test series, and he hopes to be fit by then.
As expected, all six of England's frontline batsmen have been retained, which ends speculation that Nasser Hussain was about to call time on his international career, and that Graham Thorpe's domestic difficulties might count against him, while Andrew Flintoff's groin injury has not been considered serious enough to rule him out of contention for either of the allrounders' slots.
The one-day squad contains a solitary alteration. Vikram Solanki, who mustered 11 runs in three innings against Bangladesh, has been omitted, although Graveney stressed that he still had an international future. Instead, it seems likely that the Middlesex captain Andrew Strauss will be given an extended run as Marcus Trescothick's opening partner.
The A team squad, which departs for Malaysia and India on January 26, will be announced shortly, along with the tour itinerary.
England Test squad to tour West Indies
Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire, Capt) James Anderson (Lancashire) Gareth Batty (Worcestershire) Mark Butcher (Surrey) Rikki Clarke (Surrey) Paul Collingwood (Durham) Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire) Ashley Giles (Warwickshire) Stephen Harmison (Durham) Nasser Hussain (Essex) Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire) Geraint Jones (Kent) Chris Read (Nottinghamshire) Marcus Trescothick (Somerset) Graham Thorpe (Surrey)
England one-day squad to tour West Indies
Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire,Capt) James Anderson (Lancashire) Gareth Batty (Worcestershire) Ian Blackwell (Somerset) Rikki Clarke (Surrey) Paul Collingwood (Durham) Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire) Ashley Giles (Warwickshire) James Kirtley (Sussex) Anthony McGrath (Yorkshire) Chris Read (Nottinghamshire) Andrew Strauss (Middlesex) Marcus Trescothick (Somerset)
England management team in the West Indies
Head Coach - Duncan Fletcher Assistant Coach (Test Squad) - Troy Cooley Assistant Coach (One-Day Squad) - Tim Boon Operations Manager - Phil Neale Physiotherapist (Test Squad) - Kirk Russell Physiotherapist (One-Day Squad) - Dean Conway Physiologist - Nigel Stockill Team Analyst - Malcolm Ashton Media Manager (Test Squad) - Andrew Walpole Media Manager (ODI Squad) - Mark Hodgson