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England name 3 uncapped players

May 17, 2003 17:37 IST

England have named three uncapped players -- James Anderson, James Kirtley and Anthony McGrath -- in a 13-man squad for next week's first Test against Zimbabwe, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Saturday.

England will be without pace bowler Andy Caddick, who has damaged ligaments in his right foot, and have concerns over the fitness of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who is included in the squad but is suffering from a shoulder problem.

Wicketkeeper Alec Stewart, 40, has kept his place in the squad for what would be his 127th Test.

Chairman of Selectors, David Graveney, said: "Our chief medical officer will continue to monitor the situation with Andrew Flintoff and we are hopeful that he will recover in time for the Test match.

"We discussed at length the type of player that we would need as cover for Andrew and we have gone for Anthony McGrath as a batsman who can share the role of fifth bowler with Mark Butcher.

"With regard to Robert Key's selection ahead of John Crawley, we feel that Robert is very much part of England's future. But we would stress that John Crawley has not let England down in the past and he has certainly not been removed from our future plans.

"James Kirtley has been part of the international set-up before at one-day level and has been in good form for Sussex this season. He fully deserves a chance in the longer form of the international game.

"We did not consider Chris Silverwood, Richard Johnson or Alex Tudor as replacements for Andy Caddick because they are all carrying injuries at present." England are also without long-term absentee Darren Gough, who has a pulled hamstring, and Craig White, who recently had a rib removed.

Their absence has given Kirtley his chance and also means England are likely to feature a new-ball pairing of Anderson and Steve Harmison, who has only five caps.

Yorkshire skipper McGrath, 27, played under Nasser Hussain's captaincy on the England 'A' tour of Pakistan in 1995-96.

He said: "I was surprised and delighted to get the call from David Graveney this morning. I think I have been in good form this season so far and played pretty well without getting a really big score. I'm enjoying being Yorkshire captain and I'm really looking forward to joining up with England next week."

England host Zimbabwe at Lord's from May 22-26 with the second Test at Durham's Chester-Le-Street ground from June 5-9.

England squad:

Nasser Hussain (Essex, captain), James Anderson (Lancashire), Mark Butcher (Surrey), Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire), Ashley Giles (Warwickshire), Stephen Harmison (Durham), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Robert Key (Kent), James Kirtley (Sussex), Anthony McGrath (Yorkshire), Alec Stewart (Surrey), Marcus Trescothick (Somerset), Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire).

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