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England stand by Windies heroes

PTI | ByJulian Guyer (AFP), London
May 19, 2004 03:35 PM IST

England's selectors sprang no surprises when they announced their squad on Sunday for the first Test against New Zealand starting at Lord's on Thursday.

England's selectors sprang no surprises when they announced their squad on Sunday for the first Test against New Zealand starting at Lord's on Thursday as they backed the side that thrashed West Indies 3-0 in the Caribbean.

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Left-arm spinner Ashley Giles who missed the drawn fourth and final Test in Antigua through injury was recalled to a 13-man squad for the first of a three-match series against New Zealand.

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Also included were batsman Paul Collingwood, whom England great Ian Botham has suggested should be one of those vying for former skipper Nasser Hussain's place, and Lancashire quick James Anderson.

In the West Indies Anderson found himself surplus to requirements during the Test campaign but the 21-year-old has made an impressive start to the English season including taking 10 wickets against Worcestershire in a County Championship match.

England's chairman of selectors David Graveney said in a statement: "Our Test series win in the West Indies was a magnificent performance by all concerned and we are keen to keep the momentum going against New Zealand by drawing on the same group of players.

"We have a settled squad at present and competition for places in the starting line-up is intense."

He added: "We will need to assess the overhead conditions and the pitch at Lord's before deciding on our final XI and have added James Anderson and Paul Collingwood to the squad so that all options are covered."

Essex batsman Hussain, 36, who could reach his publicly stated goal of playing 100 Tests this season, was also included.

Anderson made his Test debut at Lord's last year against Zimbabwe where he took five first innings wickets. But in the West Indies he found himself overlooked in favour of Glamorgan's Simon Jones.

When New Zealand last toured England, in 1999, they won the Test campaign 2-1 in what was Hussain's first series as England captain.

When the sides last met, in New Zealand two years ago, they shared a three-Test series 1-1.

Squad: Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Mark Butcher (Surrey), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire), Ashley Giles (Warwickshire), Stephen Harmison (Durham), Nasser Hussain (Essex), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Geraint Jones (Kent, wkt), Simon Jones (Glamorgan), Marcus Trescothick (Somerset), Graham Thorpe (Surrey).

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