Strauss may be rested says Miller

National selector Geoff Miller accepts there may be a case for resting captain Andrew Strauss from the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh.

England are expected to name their squads to tour the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh either immediately or shortly after the conclusion of their Test series against South Africa next week.

There have been suggestions several high-profile players may be considered for a sabbatical when England leave for the second leg of their winter tour, in the middle of next month.

Should Strauss take a break, vice-captain Alastair Cook would be his obvious replacement - and it seems that, and other considerations, will be up for debate soon.

Asked about contingency plans for the Test and one-day international trip to Bangladesh, Miller pointed out he is taking account of assignments either side of the tour.

England will leave on Febuary 13 for the UAE and face two Twenty20 matches against Pakistan, one against Andrew Gale's Lions as well as three ODIs and two Tests in Bangladesh.

Once that is finished they then head for the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean at the end of April.

Home series against Bangladesh and Pakistan follow, as well as a one-day programme against Australia before the Ashes next winter.

"We're in discussion," said Miller, weighing pros and cons of keeping players fresh and protecting the winning habit established last summer agianst Australia and so far in South Africa.

"There might be one or two rested, but we want to keep this momentum going - so the crux of the side will be pretty similar.

"Captaincy-wise, that is another area we can look at. There is an opportunity to rest if we need to do that.

"But I'll discuss that with the present captain and coach and find out what is the best way forward."

The packed calendar is on Miller's mind.

"Afterwards, there is an awful lot of cricket to be played," he added.

"It's a constant, constant fixture list. We don't want fatigue if we can possibly help it."

The challenge of Bangladesh is not just all about harsh conditions nowadays, though, and Miller is well aware England's hosts in February and March are an emerging force.

"Once we've created some kind of momentum with beating Australia at home and doing well against South Africa, the last thing we want is to take a backward step in Bangladesh," he said.

"We've got to make sure we're up for it."

Miller yesterday announced a Lions team to be led by new Yorkshire captain Gale, with Test batsman Ian Bell and Somerset's South Africa-born Craig Kieswetter among other notable inclusions. There is no place for Ravi Bopara.

Plans for this week's final Test against South Africa at The Wanderers are top of the agenda, though, with England 1-0 up and hoping to close out a famous series victory.

Before then, it is not inconceivable the ball-tampering controversy which erupted in the third Test at Newlands may get another airing.

But Miller, for one, does not think it should.

He insists neither Stuart Broad nor James Anderson did anything wrong, as demonstrated by the International Cricket Council's decison that no action was warranted. "They were maybe looking towards a way to mentally get one up on us," Miller said of South Africa's decision to raise concerns.

"I think it was a storm in a teacup. I think it's forgotten."

England Lions squad to tour UAE from Feb 10-26: AW Gale (captain, Yorkshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), MA Carberry (Hampshire), MJ Lumb (Hampshire), JWA Taylor (Leicestershire), C Kieswetter (wkt, Somerset), SM Davies (wkt, Surrey), PD Trego (Somerset), JC Tredwell (Kent), AU Rashid (Yorkshire), SI Mahmood (Lancashire), CR Woakes (Warwickshire), ST Finn (Middlesex), SP Kirby (Gloucestershire), DJ Wainwright (Yorkshire).

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