Gough overlooked for India tour

Darren Gough's chances of playing in next year's World Cup suffered a major blow today when he was overlooked for this winter's tour to India.

Having ruled himself out of the pre-Christmas trip to Pakistan to appear on the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing, which he subsequently won, the 35-year-old Essex seamer made himself available for the second half of England's winter schedule.

But the promising performances of Lancashire's James Anderson and Liam Plunkett of Durham in Pakistan have prompted the selectors to keep faith with them in preference to Gough for the seven-match one-day series which follows the Test series.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney explained: "Darren asked the selectors not to consider him for the tour of Pakistan for personal reasons and we respected his wishes.

"With Liam Plunkett and James Anderson performing well in Pakistan and Simon Jones now available for selection again, the selectors feel the priority is for these players to gain as much experience of one-day cricket as possible ahead of the World Cup."

Gough, who played the last of his 157 one-day internationals against Australia at the Oval last July, has been left out of England's one-day squads before most notably the tours to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka two years ago.

He returned for the West Indies later that winter and had kept his place in the side since, but with just over a year before the start of the World Cup his chances of returning again must be slim.

Gough admitted his disappointment, telling BBC Sport: "I'm not a 20-year-old who's out there demanding a place. I'm mature and I can understand they want to go with the young guys.

"Of course I am disappointed because I still think I am one of the best bowlers at the end of a one-day match.

"You can't buy one of them at a local superstore - it takes years and years."

Worcestershire batsman Vikram Solanki is the other notable absentee from the 16-man one-day squad announced today despite featuring in all five matches in Pakistan, with the selectors preferring to give Warwickshire's Ian Bell an opportunity.

Bell and Plunkett are included in both squads for the first time and Graveney said: "Liam has made a promising start to his international career and is an emerging player with great potential.

"Ian Bell has also been named in both squads as we believe his ability to bat in the top order will give us another option as we continue to plan for the World Cup in 2007.

"Vikram Solanki will be disappointed not to make the trip to India, but he's still part of our plans for the future and is one of a number of players on the fringes of selection for the one-day squad."

The Test squad was far more predictable although the selectors have confirmed they will be adding another spinner, possibly Northamptonshire's Monty Panesar or Ian Blackwell of Somerset, to the 15-man squad before it departs.

Alex Loudon and Anderson both drop out of the Test squad which toured Pakistan, but are expected to be included in the A squad to visit West Indies, which is likely to be named in the next few days and should to serve as match practice for the back-up players and one-day specialists.

Glamorgan seamer Jones, who has not played since injuring his ankle during the fourth Ashes Test victory at Trent Bridge, returns and will fly out to India early alongside Mark Footitt and Sajid Mahmood from the Academy to work at the fast bowling Academy.

"In choosing our Test squad, we wanted to show faith with the same group of players who have performed extremely well for England over the past two years," added Graveney.

"Although we lost the series, there were some encouraging individual performances from players who are new to Test cricket and we are keen to continue their development."

Both captain Michael Vaughan (knee) and Ashley Giles (hip), who have undergone surgery since returning early from Pakistan, have been named in the two squads subject to them coming through stringent fitness tests prior to the Test squad's departure for Mumbai on February 12.

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