Tour pen pics
England are heading to the UAE for a three-Test series with Pakistan in January. Here we look at the 16-man party making the trip.
Last Updated: 09/12/11 10:40am
ANDREW STRAUSS (Captain, Age 34, Caps 89)
One of England's two great guiding forces on their maiden ascent to the top of the Test rankings. Strauss is the most important too, since - unlike coach Andy Flower - he must take the heat on the field and at the crease. Strauss' stats remain acceptable, but he could do with a hundred soon to quell unwise mutterings about when his opening partner might succeed him as Test captain.
ALASTAIR COOK (27, 72)
The ICC's Test Cricketer of the Year has much to be proud of after a prolific 12 months. But One-Day International leader Cook will be mindful too of the shambolic tour of India which concluded England's 2011, and will be all the more determined to restate his and their credentials in all formats.
JONATHAN TROTT (30, 23)
Trott's elevation, above Cook, as the ICC's Player of the Year was a surprise to some - but he fit the criteria best, and kept churning out the runs until his unfortunate injury at Trent Bridge. He had his critics again for his style of play during the ODI whitewash in India but Trott remains just about England's most reliable run-getter.
KEVIN PIETERSEN (31, 78)
Pietersen's match-winning 53 in the one-off Twenty20 in Kolkata, which ended England's 2011 programme, was as well as he has played in any format. He has the undoubted ability to replicate it in Test cricket, and his motivation to succeed in that arena is not in doubt.
IAN BELL (29, 69)
England's most classical batsman spent an uncomfortable month, mostly out of the team, in India. But Bell will not be surplus to requirements in his favoured Tests, in which he has performed so well of late that he was arguably unfortunate to be overlooked in those annual ICC awards.
EOIN MORGAN (25, 13)
Sorely missed in India, where his left-handed stance - as well as his cool and know-how - would have been such a help. Morgan is not yet a Test certainty, but did enough last summer to deserve his recall once over his shoulder injury.
MATT PRIOR (29, 47)
Touted these days as the world's best Test wicketkeeper-batsman, Prior's current standing is a far cry from some of his early struggles - principally behind the stumps. The tempo of his batting is one of the reasons England can surge so often into winning positions.
RAVI BOPARA (26, 12)
Bopara appears to have the talent to be much more than a peripheral international figure. But in a vintage era for England Test batsmen, his struggle goes on to establish himself.
STUART BROAD (25, 41)
It is hard to believe - after Broad's wonderful all-round performance to swing last summer's Trent Bridge Test, and therefore the series, irrevocably England's way against India - that there had been calls shortly beforehand for him to be dropped. His upward career graph has suffered three major interruptions with injury in less than 12 months, but Broad is indispensable when fit.
GRAEME SWANN (32, 36)
Much expectation will again doubtless land on Swann's shoulders, as the frontline spinner on what are sure to be attritional surfaces in the Middle East. He will need all his renowned spirit and humour - and plenty of skill - to come up with the goods again.
JAMES ANDERSON (29, 63)
Anderson, Broad and Tim Bresnan were so dominant in home conditions against India. But everyone knows, not least them, it will be a different ball game in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Anderson proved the doubters wrong in Australia last winter. There are perhaps bigger odds to defy this time.
STEVEN FINN (22, 12)
The coming force among England's pace bowlers, if his admirable efforts in India are a reliable guide. Finn, who began his international career in Bangladesh, will be no stranger to the demands of touring Asia - and his extra pace is a significant weapon, whatever the conditions.
CHRIS TREMLETT (30, 10)
Tremlett, back after injury, has previously performed best on pacy pitches at Perth and the Rose Bowl. Any success in the Middle East will be very hard-earned.
TIM BRESNAN (26, 10)
Reported to be fully fit again after elbow surgery, Bresnan glories in a perfect 10-out-of-10 ratio of England victories in his Test career so far. He and his team-mates are up against it to keep his 100% record intact away to Pakistan.
STEVE DAVIES (25, 0)
Toured Australia as Prior's understudy last winter, on the assumption he would take over for one-day international assignments. He was surprisingly usurped by the Test specialist for the World Cup, and even after that experiment foundered pinch-hitting Craig Kieswetter was preferred in the 50-over game. Davies' England colleagues voiced their collective support last spring, after he announced his homosexuality.
MONTY PANESAR (29, 39)
Out of favour for two and a half years, and lost his central contract as England came to rely ever more heavily on Swann. But the need for a second specialist spinner in the Middle East, and gradual return to old form since his move to Sussex have given Panesar a second chance.