England’s national selector Geoff Miller has said he wanted to give the team management more options by picking a fifth seamer in the England squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, starting Wednesday.
Miller is not one to give surprises while announcing the team, but he created a mild flutter by including an extra seamer in Graham Onions. Thus, skipper Alistair Cook and coach Andy Flower have to omit two fast bowlers on the morning of the match.
“It is better to be safe. We wanted to give the captain and coach every possible option,” said Miller.
Though the selector can explain the inclusion of Onions by saying he bowls well to left-handers — the Australians squad has plenty of southpaws — and that Trent Bridge in recent years has helped swing bowlers, it would be a big surprise if Onions gets into the playing eleven.
Onions, who played three Tests against Australia in 2009, last played for England against the West Indies at Edgbaston a year ago. The seamer was given a chance because Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested with the series already won.
“We are satisfied with our preparations so far ahead of the first Test with both Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad recovering well from the injuries they picked up earlier this week. The squad will continue their hard work over the next few days, and will be eagerly anticipating the start of the series,” said Miller.
Star batsman Kevin Pietersen too returns to the Test squad for the first time since March, following a knee injury.
The rest of the England squad is on expected lines with Nick Compton getting left out, despite batting well in his two games against the Australians. Miller said Joe Root would be promoted to open the innings. The 22-year-old Yorkshire man does bat at the top for the county, but has not done the same at the Test level.
The squad: Alistair Cook (Captain), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan, Graham Onions.