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Sunday, August 15, 1999 Published at 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK

England ring the changes

Graeme Swann celebrates a wicket for England A in Zimbabwe

England's selectors have culled five players in an attempt to reverse the side's dismal recent performances for the final Test against New Zealand at the Oval.

BBC Cricket Correspondent Jonathan Agnew: "Three new faces in a squad of 13 is a conservative move in the right direction"
Opener Mark Butcher, who was stand-in captain for the Old Trafford Test, has gone, along with Graeme Hick, Chris Read and Peter Such.

Dean Headley had already been ruled out due to injury.

Fresh blood

Captain Nasser Hussain returns to the side, having fully recovered from the fractured finger he suffered when England were defeated by the Kiwis at Lord's.

[ image: Mark Butcher: From captain to fall-guy]
Mark Butcher: From captain to fall-guy
He will lead a side that includes three new caps - Leicestershire opener Darren Maddy, Northamptonshire all-rounder Graeme Swann and Warwickshire bowler Ed Giddins.

Essex all-rounder Ronnie Irani is back in the side after a long period in the wilderness. He has not represented England since the Lord's Test against India in 1996.

Former captain Alec Stewart returns to his favoured position of wicketkeeper, but drops down the order from three in the last Test to five for the Oval.

[ image: Ed Giddins: First cap for England]
Ed Giddins: First cap for England
Following the announcement of the squad, chairman of selectors David Graveney criticised England's "lacklustre spirit" that saw the side thrashed at Lord's and only saved from the same treatment by rain on the last day at Old Trafford.

"We need battlers and Ronnie [Irani] fits the bill. He is fitter than in 1996-97 - especially in the bowling department - and that means he will have more chance of doing himself justice," said Graveney.

Fast bowler Chris Silverwood's place is in doubt, after his wife Emma was seriously injured in a car accident. England said they will monitor the Yorkshire player's situation.

The final Test starts on Thursday 19 August.

England squad

For the fourth Test against New Zealand at The Oval.
MA Atherton (Lancashire)
DL Maddy (Leicestershire)
N Hussain (Essex, capt)
GP Thorpe (Surrey)
AJ Stewart (Surrey, wkt)
MR Ramprakash (Middlesex)
RC Irani (Essex)
GP Swann (Northamptonshire)
AR Caddick (Somerset)
AD Mullally (Leicestershire)
CEW Silverwood (Yorkshire)
PCR Tufnell (Middlesex)
ESH Giddins (Warwickshire)

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