London: The England selectors showed faith with the India tourists on Thursday in making just two changes for the squad to tour New Zealand in a three-Test series later this year.
The only heads to roll from India were Gloucestershire off spinner Martyn Ball and Somerset seamer Richard Johnson, neither of whom played a full match during the tour. They were dropped to make way for the return of Andrew Caddick and Andrew Flintoff for the seamer-friendly pitches expected in New Zealand. Flintoff was not in the original squad for the India tour but was drafted in as cover because of doubts over the fitness of Craig White. It means the selectors have given their full backing to the inexperienced squad who lost 0-1 on the sub- continent before Christmas and leaves no place for Glamorgan off spinner Robert Croft, who withdrew from the India tour because of fears about security. "In picking this squad, we were keen to retain the nucleus of the team which exceeded many people's expectations in India before Christmas," explained David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors. "Andrew Flintoff made a significant impact with the ball on the sub-continent and he thoroughly deserves to retain his place in the squad and Andrew Caddick is a high- class bowler of proven pedigree at Test level." Caddick will strengthen England's seam resources and supplement the encouraging performances of Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard with the new ball in India while James Ormond, Surrey's new recruit from Leicestershire, retains his place. White will complete the seamer's line-up, but has been ruled out of the one-day series in India starting on January 19 because he is due to undergo keyhole surgery on his left knee. He will be out of action for three to four weeks, but is expected to be fit for the New Zealand leg of this winter's tour and England will not be calling up a replacement. England: Nasser Hussain (captain), Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan, Mark Butcher, Graham Thorpe, Mark Ramprakash, Usman Afzaal, Craig White, Andrew Flintoff, Warren Hegg (wicket-keeper), James Foster (wicket-keeper), Ashley Giles, Richard Dawson, James Ormond, Andrew Caddick and Matthew Hoggard.
England's One-day India tour to stay: Lamb
England in India