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England go for tried and tested against New Zealand
Mitch Phillips | May 12, 2008 12:02 IST
England's [Images] selectors kept faith with the players who beat New Zealand [Images] earlier this year by naming an unchanged team, plus fast bowler Matthew Hoggard [Images], in a 12-man squad against the same opposition for this week's first Test.
The selectors chose the team which came back from 1-0 down to win the series in New Zealand 2-1 in March.
Hoggard, who was axed for those two final matches, has forced his way back into contention but there is still no place for fellow pace bowler Steve Harmison, who was also dropped for the second two Tests in New Zealand.
All-rounder Paul Collingwood [Images] was included despite undergoing treatment to an injured shoulder and his condition will be closely monitored ahead of the Lord's May 15 start of the opening Test of the three-match series.
"Despite being faced with some injury concerns we've named what we think is an extremely strong England Test squad," head selector Geoff Miller said in a statement.
"At this stage it's too early to say whether he (Collingwood) will definitely play as he will be reassessed in the lead up to Thursday."
All rounder and former captain Andrew Flintoff [Images], out of the Test team since early 2007 because of ankle problems, was ruled out of the first two Tests on Saturday with a side strain.
"Clearly there is very healthy competition for places in this Test side, which can only be good for England," Miller added.
"The selection of this squad maintains a position of continuity from the winter following a series win against New Zealand.
"We're expecting an equally tough series here at home and believe we have a squad capable of building on the success stemming from last winter."
England squad: Michael Vaughan [Images] (captain), Tim Ambrose, James Anderson, Ian Bell [Images], Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook [Images], Matthew Hoggard, Monty Panesar [Images], Kevin Pietersen [Images], Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss [Images]
(Editing by John O'Brien)