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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent