London: Off-spin duo Jason Brown and Robert Croft were named on Monday in England's Test squad in place of axed Ian Salisbury and injured Dominic Cork for the new year's tour of Sri Lanka. Uncapped Brown of Northamptonshire is joined in the 15-man party by the recalled Croft, who played two Tests against West Indies last summer. Glamorgan slow bowler Croft, who considered never playing for England again after his disappointment of being overlooked for the recent trip to Pakistan, has also been included in the 15-man One-day party to face the Sri Lankans. Croft reacted with some surprise to his call-up, having been touted as a One-day replacement for Ashley Giles at the ICC Knockout in October when left-arm orthodox Paul Grayson was instead summoned to Kenya. The Welshman said, "I've just been coming to the end of my benefit year and was intending to spend the winter doing some fitness work and getting into the nets. "So this is fantastic news, and it's an opportunity that I intend to grab with both hands." Cork and Salisbury are both omitted after being chosen in the squad that won the Test series in Pakistan 1-0. Cork, who flew home from Lahore in November with a back injury, has been advised to rest for three months - but he is expected to be fit for the start of the next domestic season with Derbyshire. Surrey wrist-spinner Salisbury was a major disappointment in the three-Test series against the Pakistanis, taking just one wicket. Chairman of selectors David Graveney said, "We believe that we need three 'out and out' slow bowlers for the tour to Sri Lanka because the wickets will suit finger spin and the conditions will be very hot and humid." Brown, who took 61 first-class wickets for his county last season, will fly out to the Caribbean on December 28 for the England A tour of the West Indies before joining up with the senior squad on January 30 for the Sri Lanka tour. His replacement for the remainder of the A trip will be his county colleague Graeme Swann. Hampshire's Alan Mullally, who missed the One-day International series in Pakistan and the ICC Trophy with a rib injury, will undergo a fitness test before going to Sri Lanka with the One-day squad.
Copyright AFP 2000