James Taylor included in the squad as cover

Kevin Pietersen was included in a 14-man squad for next week’s third Ashes Test against Australia at Old Trafford despite concerns over his calf injury, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Sunday.

Star batsman Pietersen will be given time to prove his fitness for the match, which starts at the Manchester venue on Thursday, with Nottinghamshire’s James Taylor added to the squad as cover.

England have also altered their bowling options by bringing in Monty Panesar as a second spinner and recalling fast bowler Chris Tremlett in place of seamers Steven Finn and Graham Onions.

Pietersen, who has been sidelined for much of this year, suffered his latest fitness setback in England’s crushing 347-run second Test win at Lord’s last week and could not field in the second innings.

Taylor always looked the most likely candidate to be called up as cover after the ECB sought special dispensation for the diminutive batsman to guest for Sussex in their ongoing tour match against Australia at Hove.

The 23-year-old Taylor responded by making an unbeaten 64 on Saturday’s second day of three.

Taylor played two Tests against South Africa last year but didn’t make the England squad for the tours of India and New Zealand, falling behind the likes of Nick Compton and Joe Root in the England pecking order.AFP