Colly cleared for opener

Hoggard also selected; No place for Harmison

By Joe Drabble.   Last Updated: 11/05/08 3:48pm

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Collingwood: Squad place

Collingwood: Squad place

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Paul Collingwood has been named in England's 12-man squad for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's - although his fitness will be monitored ahead of Thursday's start.

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The squad also sees Yorkshire swing bowler Matthew Hoggard earn a place as he aims to impress after being axed from the final two Tests of England's recent tour of New Zealand.

Your view on the first Test squad

Collingwood's participation in the opening Test had been thrown into doubt earlier in the week after the 31-year-old was treated for shoulder and back problems in the aftermath of Durham's LV County Championship defeat to Lancashire.

The same Old Trafford encounter also saw Andrew Flintoff's injury-jinx continue as he was forced to withdraw himself from the squad due to a side strain.

Although there is some doubt as to Collingwood's availability, the new-look selection panel have declined to announce an official standby player.

Extremely strong

"Despite being faced with some injury concerns we've named what we think is an extremely strong England Test squad," said England selector Geoff Miller.

"Paul Collingwood received treatment to his right shoulder on Friday and we now need to see how he responds to that treatment before we have a definitive idea of his availability for the first Test.

"At this stage it's too early to say whether he will definitely play as he will be reassessed in the lead up to Thursday.

"I know Paul and the England medical team will be doing everything to ensure he's given the best chance of taking his place in the side but should he not be fit to play we have options available."

The squad also sees Andrew Strauss re-instated as an option at the top of the order, and wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose has been rewarded for his promising start to international cricket by shrugging off strong competition to keep his place behind the stumps.

Healthy competition

Steve Harmison has failed to force his way back into the squad as the selectors have opted to choose the same XI which came back from 1-0 down to win the Test series in New Zealand in March, with the addition of Hoggard.

"Clearly there is very healthy competition for places in this Test side, which can only be good for England," said Miller. "The selection of this squad maintains a position of continuity from the winter following a series win against New Zealand.

"We're expecting an equally tough series here at home and believe we have a squad capable of building on the success stemming from last winter.

"The decision to leave the likes of Stephen Harmison out of the squad was a difficult one but we've no doubt that Stephen, along with several other players, will continue to fight every inch of the way to stake a claim for England selection."

England 12-man squad for the first Test on Thursday 15 May:

MP Vaughan (Yorks, capt), AN Cook (Essx), AJ Strauss (Midx), KP Pietersen (Hants), IR Bell (Warks), PD Collingwood (Dur), TR Ambrose (Warks, wkt), SCJ Broad (Notts), RJ Sidebottom (Notts), MS Panesar (North), JM Anderson (Lancs), MJ Hoggard (Yorks).

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