England axe falls on Prior
Andrew Strauss and Tim Ambrose, at the expense of Matt Prior, have been included in England's squad for the Test series in New Zealand.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 04/01/08 3:28pm
Andrew Strauss and Tim Ambrose have been included in England's squad for the Test series in New Zealand, but there is no place for Matt Prior.
Despite averaging over 40 in Sri Lanka, the Sussex wicketkeeper has been sensationally dropped from both the Test and one-day picture.
In his place comes his former county colleague Ambrose, who enjoyed an excellent domestic season for Warwickshire after moving from Hove to get first-team action.
He was also part of England's Performance Programme squad that toured India at the end of 2007.
The Australian-born 25-year-old looks likely to start the series as first choice with Durham's Phil Mustard as his back-up. The pair are also in the ODI party.
Strauss' recall comes as no surprise and means Ravi Bopara, who struggled to score runs when handed his chance in Sri Lanka, is left out. He is, however, still part of the one-day set-up.
"Tim Ambrose fully deserves an opportunity at this level following impressive performances for the England Performance Squad in India before Christmas and for Warwickshire last season," chairman of selectors David Graveney said.
"Matt Prior performed well with the bat in Sri Lanka and it has been a difficult decision to leave him out of this tour.
"But the selectors feel that he needs to further improve his wicket-keeping in order to realise his full potential in international cricket."
On Strauss' return, he added: "Andrew Strauss needed a break from international cricket in our view and he will now be keen to re-establish himself in the Test side.
"His experience will be of benefit to the squad as a whole and his inclusion will also provide us with alternative options if required at the top of the batting order."
It is not yet clear whether Strauss' return to the fold will see him back as an opening batsman. Captain Michael Vaughan moved to the top of the order in Sri Lanka after batting at three last summer.
The three-Test series starts in Hamilton on March 5 before moving on to Wellington eight days later. The final match takes place in Napier.
England face the Black Caps in two Twenty20 internationals and a five-match one-day series before the Test action gets underway.
As well as leaving out Prior, the selectors have decided to omit Monty Panesar from the limited overs squad, instead sending him to India with the England Lions.
Into his place comes Kent's James Tredwell, an off-spinning all-rounder who is likely to back up first choice Graeme Swann.
"James Tredwell has performed well for Kent in the domestic one-day game and continued to impress in India with the Performance Squad," commented Graveney.
"This is an excellent opportunity for him to show that he can step up to the next level."
All England's international matches in New Zealand will be shown LIVE on Sky Sports.
England's one-day squad to tour New Zealand: Paul Collingwood (Durham) captain, Tim Ambrose (Warwickshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Dimitri Mascarenhas (Hampshire), Philip Mustard (Durham), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Tremlett (Hampshire), Luke Wright (Sussex)
England's Test squad to tour New Zealand: Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire) captain, Tim Ambrose (Warwickshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Alastair Cook (Essex), Stephen Harmison (Durham), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Philip Mustard (Durham), Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Andrew Strauss (Middlesex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)