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Strauss to lead England in first Test

cricket Updated: May 15, 2007 12:37 IST

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AP Michael Vaughan has been ruled out of the first cricket test against the West Indies starting on Thursday, with Andrew Strauss leading the England team in his absence.

Selectors on Sunday decided that Vaughan, who broke the middle finger of his right hand batting for county team Yorkshire against Hampshire on May 3, would not be sufficiently recovered by the start of the Lord's test.

Vaughan has targeted the second test at Headingley a week later for his comeback to the team.

"Michael Vaughan has made progress with his recovery from injury but his chances of being fully fit for this (Lord's) test are extremely doubtful and we feel the best course of action is to avoid any uncertainty and for Andrew Strauss to deputize for him," chairman of selectors David Graveney said.

"Michael will continue his rehabilitation with the squad at Lord's next week and we will reassess his fitness when we sit down to pick the side for Headingley."

Graveney said opening batsman Strauss was chosen as captain ahead of Andrew Flintoff so that the allrounder could concentrate on his own performance rather than tactics.

"I have spoken to both Andrew Flintoff and Andrew Strauss about the captaincy position," Graveney said. "Our view is that the team's best interests will be served if Andrew Strauss leads the team as this will allow Andrew Flintoff to concentrate on his batting and bowling."

England is confident that leading batsman Kevin Pietersen will have recovered fully from an injured calf muscle. Owais Shah of Middlesex has been called up to replace Vaughan in the England batting lineup, while Sussex wicketkeeper Matt Prior will make his England test debut, leaving no place for Paul Nixon. Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison, who have both been taking plenty of wickets early in the county championship season, are both in the squad and will team up with Flintoff as the pace attack, with Monty Panesar as the only spinner.

West Indies is without recently retired captain Brian Lara, and will be led by Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alistair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Owais Shah, Matt Prior, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett, Monty Panesar.