Flintoff retained, Bell replaces Pietersen in Ashes squad | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Flintoff retained, Bell replaces Pietersen in Ashes squad

cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2009 00:06 IST

IANS
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Andrew Flintoff has been retained while Ian Bell replaces Kevin Pietersen in the England squad for the third Ashes Test against Australia starting on Thursday at Edgbaston.

Flintoff, who will retire after the series, is battling a knee injury while Pietersen has been ruled out of the series after he underwent a surgery on his Achilles tendon. Bell's inclusion in the eleven is likely to be the only change in the team that is 1-0 up in the series.

"Kevin's injury has presented an opportunity for Ian Bell. The performance of the team at Lord's was outstanding and a convincing win was well deserved. We have obviously had to make a change to the side following Kevin Pietersen's unavailability and we wish Kevin the best with his rehabilitation and look forward to his return to the England team in due course," said national selector Geoff Miller.

"But we know Ian Bell is a top-class batsmen with an excellent international record for England. Ian will be looking to make the most of his return to the side during an Ashes series and while we have a strong idea of where he will bat we won't be disclosing the final line-up of the side until the toss on Thursday," he added.

Bell will make a comeback in the side on his home ground after being dropped after the first Test in West Indies. For Bell it will be fresh challenge after having failed in the 10 Ashes Tests during which he scored just 502 runs.

Miller hoped that Flintoff will be fit in time for the third Test.

"Andrew Flintoff's performance at Lord's was truly memorable and we are hopeful he can take his place in the side for the third Test as he continues to manage his knee injury," Miller said.

"Andrew and the medical staff are quite bullish about his prospects of playing but we'll continue to monitor his progress in the days leading up to Thursday. Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar both provide us with cover and exciting options within the bowling attack," he said.

The squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alistair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graeme Onions, Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar.