May 032013


England spinner Graeme Swann will be back on the field at the Champions Trophy tournament. Source: AFP

GRAEME Swann and Tim Bresnan have been called up by England for next month’s Champions Trophy after recovering from elbow injuries, with selectors deciding against resting the bowlers ahead of the Ashes series against Australia.

Swann and Bresnan, who have only just returned to action with their English county sides after missing the recent tour of New Zealand, are likely to be key members of England’s team as they seek a first 50-over ICC trophy.

“They are all priorities this summer,” national selector Geoff Miller, when asked whether the Ashes was more important than the Champions Trophy.

“This is a big series for us … the medical staff have given them a pass and we are confident they can come through this.

“We’ll just monitor how they are adapting and coping with the slight injuries they’ve had. They’ve shown that they are now past those injuries and ready to perform.”

With Kevin Pietersen out with a knee injury, Ravi Bopara was recalled to a 15-man squad as one of seven batsmen and among the six survivors – along with Bresnan and Swann – from the last Champions Trophy in 2009.

Bopara has not played for England since September and has been in and out of the international set-up in all three formats, although he has played 83 ODIs, averaging more than 30.

“He’s been given another opportunity because we know what he’s capable of doing,” Miller said. “He’s got all the assets to his game – there’s the bowling aspect which has come on very, very well, batting-wise we know what he’s capable of doing, and he’s very good in the field as well.”

Chris Woakes got the nod over Jade Dernbach for the final seamer berth.

England will use the same squad for the three-match one-day series against New Zealand that precedes the Champions Trophy, which England hosts from June 6.

Pietersen won’t be back until after the Champions Trophy, which is hosted by England and Wales with games staged in Birmingham, Cardiff and London, but is looking to return in time for the Ashes.

“We’ve performed well without Pietersen before,” Miller said. “He’s world class and you want world class in your side, but it’s not to be on this occasion.

“He’s got his knee problem but we’ve still got players that can take his place. We’re quietly confident we can do well, with or without Kevin Pietersen.”

England squad: Alastair Cook (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Chris Woakes. 

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