London: Marcus Trescothick was recalled to the England squad Sunday for the fourth and final Test against India at The Oval on September 5.
Opening batsman Trescothick had not played cricket since breaking a thumb on July 17 until he appeared for Somerset in Saturday's Trophy final defeat against Yorkshire. He came through that match without apparent discomfort but is one of three players who must prove their fitness ahead of Thursday's key encounter with the four Test series level at one apiece. With all-rounder Andrew Flintoff out with a groin problem, England has included three other players who did not feature in the third Test starting line-up at Headingley where India won by an innings and 46 runs. All-rounders Dominic Cork and Ronnie Irani are included in the 14-man squad while fast bowler Stephen Harmison, who made his England debut in the second Test at Trent Bridge but was omitted from the final XI at Headingley, retains his place in the set- up. Only Harmison goes into the match with no lingering fitness problems. Trescothick (thumb), Irani (knee) and Cork (finger) will play in One-day league matches for their respective counties Sunday and Monday to test their fitness ahead of a five-day game.
Irani, who played in all of England's triangular series One-day matches this summer, is recalled to the Test squad after a three-year absence. The Essex captain played the last of his three Tests to date against New Zealand at The Oval in 1999. Commenting on the selection, England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said, "We want to give these three players some more match practice before the Test match and we should have a clearer picture of their fitness by Tuesday. "Although we are aware of the limited match practice Ronnie Irani has had recently, he was out for only a couple of weeks through injury and was able to practice with both ball and bat on Friday and Saturday of this week.
"Marcus Trescothick played on Saturday in the Trophy Final and suffered no reaction above the norm to his thumb injury. He was happy with the way he batted and felt fine in the field. "The selectors discussed the likely shape of the team when we met earlier in the week and we were not inclined to play seven batsmen and four bowlers. This policy did not work for us against Sri Lanka at Lord's earlier in the summer (where England drew) and we feel that we will need a five-bowler combination for this Test match. "At this stage without having seen the wicket, we are not expecting a surface which is especially helpful to spin and as a consequence we have decided not to include a second specialist spinner in the squad," former off-spinner Graveney added.
There had been speculation that Yorkshire off-spinner Richard Dawson would be recalled on a ground where slow bowlers have prospered in recent seasons. England:Nasser Hussain (captain), Mark Butcher, Andrew Caddick, Dominic Cork, John Crawley, Ashley Giles, Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Ronnie Irani, Robert Key, Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick, Alex Tudor, Michael Vaughan.