| Thorpe’s talent and experience persuaded the selectors to include him
London: England recalled Surrey left-hander Graham Thorpe on Sunday for the fifth and final Test against South Africa at The Oval next week, ending a year-long exile.
Thorpe has been on the sidelines since announcing he was taking a complete break from cricket following last year’s Lord’s Test against India in the aftermath of his marriage break-up.
But his talent and experience at the highest level has persuaded the selectors to include him in the 13-man squad.
He comes in as a straight replacement for Nasser Hussain, who broke his left toe while batting during last week’s fourth Test defeat at Headingley. Hussain is not expected to play again this season.
Thorpe’s return is the only major change to the squad, which was delayed from the scheduled Friday announcement to give the selectors more time to assess their options following the withdrawal of James Kirtley from consideration after he sustained shin splints.
Surrey seamer Martin Bicknell retains his place subject to him proving his fitness during his County’s National League match against Yorkshire at Headingley. Bicknell was bothered by long-standing hamstring trouble during his Test return last week.
Steve Harmison, overlooked from the Headingley starting line-up, is almost certain to regain his place but the selectors decided against the return of Somerset seamer Richard Johnson, who has been plagued by knee trouble ever since the end of the tri-series mid-way through the summer.
Michael Vaughan (captain), Kabir Ali, James Anderson, Gareth Batty, Martin Bicknell, Mark Butcher, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Stephen Harmison, Ed Smith, Alec Stuart, Marcus Trescothick, Graham Thorpe.