Bell and Sidebottom press England re-entry button

Rapid recalls underline selectors' new policy of keeping squad on toes

England demonstrated yesterday how much they have changed under new management. The side which a year ago looked as though it could only be broken into with the help of an explosives expert has adopted a much less rigid entry policy.

It is also one clearly designed to ensure that those already there are aware their places are not conferred by divine right. In announcing the squad for the second Test, the selectors showed that they are prepared at least to consider changing a winning team.

Ian Bell and Ryan Sidebottom, left out because of form and injury during the winter, were both recalled to a 13-man party for the match which begins at Chester-le-Street on Thursday. Monty Panesar has been omitted because the selectors are not yet ready to inaugurate the two-spinner policy which seems destined to play a key role later in the summer.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "Both Bell and Sidebottom have been in form in the early part of the season and have been a part of the England set-up in recent years. Their inclusion in the squad gives the selectors, the coach and the captain several options going into this game."

Bell made two hundreds in the opening days of the season and, although he has had trouble since in converting sound starts into something more substantial, which is what got him dropped in February, his recall is recognition of the fact that he still features in England's long-term plans.

It seems that Sidebottom has made a full and swift recovery from Achilles surgery. The chronic complaint affected his return on the recent tour of the West Indies after he had already missed much of the second half of last summer with a long list of complaints ranging from back to groin.

Miller said: "Sidebottom has recovered from surgery after the Caribbean tour and reports that he is now bowling pain-free."

It is possible that neither Bell nor Sidebottom will appear in the XI which takes the field on Thursday and certain that there will not be a place for both unless there are injuries. Their selection at least should finally quell the notion that either Michael Vaughan or Stephen Harmison are in the frame for a recall.

Although the names of the erstwhile captain and strike-bowler have been much discussed, only conspiracy theorists and those who think that former glories can be recaptured can have given them serious credence. In the case of Vaughan the selectors' task was eased by his hamstring injury. Sidebottom and Bell are different altogether and both, probably for different reasons, are valued by England's team director, Andy Flower.

Sidebottom's left-arm swing not only presents a different problem for batsmen but also creates rough for Graeme Swann's off-spin when bowling to right-handers. Neither is to be underappreciated.

It looks as though Sidebottom's body is fully repaired – he was probably rushed back into action too quickly in the Caribbean because Flower and the captain, Andrew Strauss, were so eager to have him in the side – and in his two Championship matches for Nottinghamshire he has bowled with skill and precision, although taking only seven wickets.

Perhaps he will not have an enduring international career because of the toll taken by having to strive for a little extra pace in Test cricket, but England would dearly like to have him available for the Ashes starting in July.

Bell is doubtless considered by Flower to be one of his less successful charges during his period as batting coach. But the new team director is not about to give up on one with obvious talent and time. He is probably there as cover this week, but offers the opportunity to alter the balance of the side. The selectors must be sure he has learnt a lesson. He was one of those who had perhaps become a little too assured of their place. When he was dropped after the defeat to the West Indies in the first Test in Jamaica, it was probably two matches too late.

But the squad is not merely one to take on the West Indies at the Riverside. It also has been picked with the potential shape of England in the Ashes in mind.

England squad for second Test

*Thurs 14-Mon 18 May, Riverside

A J Strauss (capt)......... Age 32 ......... 61 caps
A N Cook ......... 24......... 42
R S Bopara ......... 24......... 5......... 
K P Pietersen ......... 28......... 51
P D Collingwood......... 32......... 47
I R Bell ......... 27......... 46
M J Prior (wkt)......... 27......... 17
S C J Broad ......... 22......... 16
T T Bresnan ......... 24......... 1
G P Swann ......... 30......... 6
J M Anderson ......... 26......... 36
G Onions ......... 26......... 1
R J Sidebottom......... 31......... 21

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power