England ponder Test options
There is unlikely to be a place for Michael Vaughan when England name their Test squad on Wednesday.
Last Updated: 29/04/09 10:06am
England name their squad for the first Test against West Indies on Wednesday with Michael Vaughan likely to find himself surplus to requirements.
Former skipper Vaughan has not played international cricket since relinquishing the captaincy last August, although he remains centrally contracted by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
But the Yorkshire batsman failed to impress against Durham in last week's LV County Championship fixture and, despite making 82 in his county's FP Trophy win over Sussex on Sunday, is expected to have to wait in the wings for the time being.
"It is no secret how much cricket we have got to play between now and the end of the summer," said national selector Geoff Miller.
"The players we pick now are not necessarily the ones we will use later because, as we all know, injuries and loss of form play a part throughout a season."
The selectors met on Tuesday and plenty of their discussion will have centred around the number three position being contested between Ian Bell, Vaughan, Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah.
Bell impressed the management with his fitness regime after being axed on the recent Caribbean tour and has already scored two centuries for Warwickshire this summer.
Middlesex's Shah failed to take his opportunity after Bell was axed in the aftermath of the Jamaica Test defeat and has been sat kicking his heels in the Indian Premier League instead of churning out runs for Middlesex.
Andrew Flintoff's latest injury theoretically promotes Bopara's case to bat at number six, as he struck a hundred on Test return in Barbados last month and can supplement the seam attack with some medium pace.
However, six drawn Lord's Tests on the trot should encourage England to be bold and maintain a five-man attack.
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior was promoted to number six in England's last Test in Trinidad and, with Stuart Broad a capable lower-order contributor, the batting should not suffer.
How to accommodate Flintoff's absence from the attack is another issue and, with Ryan Sidebottom cautiously returning from injury, the two pace bowling places as back-up to certain picks James Anderson and Broad should come from Durham pair Steve Harmison and Graham Onions, Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan and Lancashire paceman Sajid Mahmood.
Nottinghamshire's management believe left-armer Sidebottom, who returned home early from the tour of the Caribbean with a chronic Achilles problem, needs at least two championship matches behind him before being considered for the higher stage.
It is unlikely two spinners will be selected for a match that begins on May 6, regardless of recent decent weather, so Monty Panesar will have to bide his time in county action.