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England throw Bopara to lions

England selectors unveiled a 15-man WC squad, saying he hoped captain Vaughan would be fit to lead the team in the tournament.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2007 20:44 IST

England chairman of selectors David Graveney unveiled his 15-man World Cup squad on Wednesday, saying he hoped captain Michael Vaughan would be fit to lead the team in the tournament in the West Indies.

The one surprise in the squad is the inclusion of 21-year-old Essex allrounder Ravi Bopara, who made his ODI debut against Australia in the recent series.

“The selectors were delighted with the team’s outstanding performance in winning the Commonwealth Bank Series and we have retained the bulk of the squad who were in Australia for the World Cup,” Graveney said.

“Michael Vaughan, James Anderson and Jon Lewis are all still recovering from injuries at present and have been named in the squad subject to a further re-assessment prior to our departure for the Caribbean.

“They will continue to undergo intensive treatment over the next fortnight and the medical staff will be giving the selectors regular updates on their progress. Kevin Pietersen, however, is now fully recovered from his rib injury and will be keen to make an impact in his first World Cup.”

Graveney continued: “We have included Ravi Bopara because we believe he is a multi-dimensional cricketer whose all-round talents will help give the squad a better balance.”

England are scheduled to leave for the Caribbean on March 2 and play their first warm-up match against Bermuda in St Vincent on March 5. Their first match in the tournament's Group Stage is against New Zealand in St Lucia on March 16. They also face Kenya and Canada in Group C.

Canada pick diverse WC roster

Toronto: Canada’s World Cup squad includes a forklift driver, accountant, salesman, and teacher.

With just two pros among the 15 players named on Tuesday, Canada will be rank underdogs in their Group C matches against England, New Zealand and Kenya in the Caribbean next month.

But coach Andy Pick, the former England A player and England Under-19 coach, believed he had players who can make a difference.

“We’ve got six or seven players who can single-handedly alter the result of the game,” Pick said.

“They’re good enough players to put in a game-changing performance.”

The team featured captain John Davison, who plays in Sydney, Australia, and whose 67-ball century against West Indies was the fastest in World Cup history four years ago; batsman Geoff Barnett, who plays first-class cricket in Blenheim, New Zealand; and Toronto wicketkeeper Ashish Bagai, who was named player of the tournament in the recent World League in Kenya.

Canada kick off their World Cup campaign on March 14 against Kenya, before playing England on March 18 and New Zealand on March 22.

“We have to be realistic,” Pick said.

“Most times out of a hundred, our best chance at winning a game would be against Kenya. What we have to aim for is to compete with ourselves. If we produce our best game and England and New Zealand don’t, that’s when the underdog wins.”

First Published: Feb 14, 2007 20:44 IST