Sydney: England on Tuesday named injury-plagued Andrew Flintoff and Ashley Giles in its final 15-man squad for the February-March World Cup in southern Africa. Flintoff and Giles both returned home from England's cricket tour of Australia to recover from injuries. England's chairman of selectors David Graveney said Flintoff was recovering well from complications after mid-year hernia surgery, while spinner Giles had been given the go-ahead to begin training after breaking his wrist during net practice in Adelaide. Selectors also included sidelined Craig White in the squad after the Yorkshire all- rounder damaged side muscles bowling in the Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne.
White is expecting to take three to six weeks to recover, in time to play in the World Cup. Opener Michael Vaughan, who did not play in England's early matches of the triangular One-day series with Australia and Sri Lanka, is back in the One-day squad after a brilliant 145 against Australia in the fourth Ashes Test last weekend. "I am satisfied that the players selected in this squad represent the best mix of experience and youth that England has available to it," Graveney said in a statement on Tuesday. "The unavailability of several key players for various reasons over recent months has given us the opportunity to bring in a number of young players into our plans. "Several of these players have responded extremely well to the challenge and we have had no hesitation in including them in the squad." Graveney said Flintoff had been bowling at around 90 per cent capacity in the nets back in Lancashire and was experiencing less pain than he had in Australia.
"The indications from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) medical officer are that Andrew will be fit and able to play a full part in the World Cup," said Graveney. Graveney said Giles had bowled six overs in the nets last weekend without suffering a reaction and he was satisfied the off spinner would play in the World Cup. "We will be looking to have both Andrew and Ashley travel to Australia during the next few weeks to continue their rehabilitation and prove their fitness," he said. Graveney said initial medical advice on White was that the injury would require three to six weeks to heal. "Craig will be receiving intensive treatment with the aim of having him available for the finals of the VB Series (triangular One-day series in Australia) should England qualify," he said.
England has been drawn in pool 'A' at the World Cup alongside Australia, Pakistan, India, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the Netherlands. Its first scheduled pool match is against Zimbabwe in Harare on February England - Nasser Hussain (captain), Marcus Trescothick, Ian Blackwell, Paul Collingwood, Andy Flintoff, Ronnie Irani, Nick Knight, Alec Stewart, Michael Vaughan, Craig White, James Anderson, Andrew Caddick, Ashley Giles, Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard.