London: England's national selector Geoff Miller has said he wanted to give the team management more options by picking a fifth seamer in the England squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, starting on Wednesday.
Miller is not one to give surprises while announcing the team, but he created a mild flutter by including an extra seamer in Graham Onions, thus skipper Alistair Cook and coach Andy Flower have to omit two fast bowlers on the morning of the match.
"It is better to be safe and we wanted to give the captain and coach every possible option," said Miller.
Though the selector can explain the inclusion of Onions saying he bowls well to the left-handers and the Australians have plenty of left-handers and that Trent Bridge in recent years has helped the swing bowlers, it would be a big surprise if Onions gets into the playing eleven.
Onions, who played three Tests against Australia in 2009, has last played for England against the West Indies at Edgbaston a year ago and he got to play because Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested with the series already won.
"We are satisfied with our preparations so far ahead of the first Test with both Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad recovering well from the injuries they picked up earlier this week. The squad will continue their hard work over the next few days and will be eagerly anticipating the start of the series on Wednesday at Trent Bridge," said Miller.
Kevin Pietersen too returns to the Test squad for the first time since March following a knee injury. The rest of the England squad is on expected lines with Nick Compton left out, despite batting well in his two games against the Australians, after Miller said Joe Root would be promoted to open the innings. The 22-year-old Yorkshire man does bat at the top for the county but has not done so far at the Test level.
Squad: Alistair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan, Graham Onions.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates