The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Injury-hit England may pick ‘bigger squad’

London, Aug.31: Troubled by injuries and still not fully sure about the fitness of some cricketers, the England selectors may announce a “bigger squad” for next week’s series-decider at The Oval, from Thursday. Usually, 12/13 players are named.

“Given the doubts and misgivings, David Graveney and Co. could pick as many as 15... It will be unusual but, given the circumstances, probably quite the right thing,” is how a source put it, during a chat with The Telegraph this evening.

Incidentally, though Dominic Cork didn’t play for Derbyshire against India because of a “hairline fracture” to one of his fingers, he has made himself available for selection.

England’s top worry, of course, is getting a suitable replacement for Andrew Flintoff. Ronnie Irani is being talked about, but he is just coming off a two-week lay-off, necessitated by arthroscopy on his right knee. So, if he is chosen, his selection could be “conditional”.

Then, there’s some debate over whether to recall top gun Marcus Trescothick. It’s significant, perhaps, that he is playing today’s C&H Trophy final, after being on the sidelines for as many as six weeks owing to an injury while fielding.

While some feel Trescothick’s presence alone will straightaway lift England’s morale, which took a severe beating at Headingley, others are of the opinion he shouldn’t be shortlisted without a couple of first class games for his County (Somerset).

Eventually, Trescothick’s class may tilt scales in favour of an immediate recall.

Meanwhile, with The Oval (Surrey’s home ground) known to favour spinners — Saqlain Mushtaq, for one, has again been having a ball — the selectors could call up off-spinner Richard Dawson to give Nasser Hussain the option of playing a second spinner besides Ashley Giles.

Dawson, who turns out for Yorkshire, toured India last winter.

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