Hoggard recalled to England squad

Published: Sunday, May 11, 2008, 15:15 [IST]
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Loggard: Yorkshire seamer Matthew Hoggard has been recalled by England for this week's first Test against New Zealand at Lord's.

Hoggard, who was dropped for the final two Tests of England's series win in New Zealand earlier in the year, benefits from the unavailability of Andrew Flintoff, who has been ruled out of the first two matches of the three-Test series through injury.

The selectors have also included Paul Collingwood in the squad despite doubts over the all-rounder's fitness.

Collingwood, 31, is receiving treatment for a shoulder problem but the selectors have not idenitified a standby player as cover for England's one-day captain.

"At this stage it's too early to say whether he will definitely play as he will be reassessed in the lead up to Thursday," said Geoff Miller, the national selector.

"I know Paul and the England medical team will be doing everything to ensure he's given the best chance of taking his place in the side but should he not be fit to play we have options available."

Flintoff, who has not played Test cricket in over a year, had been hoping to make his long-awaited international comeback against New Zealand following the fourth ankle operation of his career.

But the all-rounder, who has been bowling well for Lancashire but struggling for form with the bat, was ruled out on Saturday after suffering a side strain playing for Lancashire.

"Andrew Flintoff was obviously unavailable for selection, which is a shame for Andrew and for England but I know he'll continue to work hard with the Lancashire medical team and be back in contention in due course," Miller added.

Flintoff could be ready for the third Test against the Black Caps, at Nottingham from June 7.

While Hoggard has done enough for Yorkshire to win a recall, fast bowler Stephen Harmison, who was also dropped after the first Test in New Zealand, remains out in the cold having failed to impress with his performances for Durham.

"The selection of this squad maintains a position of continuity from the winter following a series win against New Zealand," Miller said.

"We're expecting an equally tough series here at home and believe we have a squad capable of building on the success stemming from last winter.

"The decision to leave the likes of Stephen Harmison out of the squad was a difficult one but we've no doubt that Stephen, along with several other players, will continue to fight every inch of the way to stake a claim for England selection."

England Squad: Michael Vaughan (capt.), Tim Ambrose, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Matthew Hoggard, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss

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