Smith edges out Watkinson

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Warwickshire's Neil Smith has beaten Lancashire's Mike Wat-kinson to the last place in England's World Cup squad.

The 14-man panel - announced by England manager Ray Illingworth after the 64-run defeat by South Africa yesterday in the seventh and final one- day international - contains no surprises.

Watkinson, Mark Ramprakash and Dermot Reeve are the three discarded from the squad in South Africa.

Illingworth said: "We went for Neil Smith because we believe he might bowl better as a spinner in the conditions out in India and Pakistan. I'm satisfied with the squad. We want bowlers who can bat, but we have got to improve our front-line batting.

"These seven one-day games in South Africa have been pretty hard work at the end of a long tour. Everyone needs a rest and to have a week away from things. When we get to Lahore in early February, we will have an important week of practice to get our minds right."

Teenage wrist-spinner Paul Adams is a surprise member of South Africa's World Cup squad. The 19-year-old is a selection gamble. He only recently began playing first-class cricket, though he was an important influence when introduced during the Test series against England and his unusual action has added to his publicity.

He was also man of the match in South Africa's 14-run victory over England in the sixth one-day international on Friday and was named in the panel after South Africa's 64-run win over England at Port Elizabeth yesterday.

The fast medium bowler Fanie de Villiers, who missed the entire Test series against England because of a groin strain, was also included.

However, South Africa's veteran wicketkeeper Dave Richardson misses the World Cup after breaking a finger during a match against England last week. He is replaced by Steve Palframan.

ENGLAND SQUAD (for World Cup): M A Atherton (Lancs, capt), A J Stewart (Surrey, vice-capt), D G Cork (Derbys), P A J DeFreitas (Derbys), N H Fairbrother (Lancs), D Gough (Yorks), G A Hick (Worcs), R K Illingworth (Worcs), P J Martin (Lancs), R C Russell (Gloucs), N M K Smith (Warwicks), R A Smith (Hants), G P Thorpe (Surrey), C White (Yorks).

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD: H Cronje (capt), C Matthews, G Kirsten, A Hudson, J Kallis, D Cullinan, J Rhodes, B McMillan, S Pollock, S Palframan, P Symcox, F de Villiers, A Donald, P Adams.

England lose again, page 9