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Monday, June 28, 1999 Published at 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK


England Test squad

Main men: Leading batsman Graham Thorpe and captain Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain - Captain
Age: 31
Team: Essex
Style: Right hand bat; Leg break
The obvious choice as captain once the selectors accepted that Alec Stewart's triple burden was proving too much.

A shrew tactician, Hussain was elevated from vice-captain for the first Test at Edgbaston.

A stylish and durable batsman, he has emerged in recent series as the rock in England's middle order.

But the Madras-born Hussain was a controversial figure in his younger days, when he frequently clashed with authority.

Questions remain over his temperament - he reacted angrily over the phone when chairman of selectors David Graveney initially left him out of the World Cup squad - he has much to prove as leader and moral authority of the squad.

Made the most of his belated call-up for the World Cup with some useful run-getting at the top of the order and with some spectacular displays in the field. One of the best operators in the world at the backward point position.

Mark Butcher
Age: 26
Team: Surrey
Style: Left hand bat; right arm medium
Like so many England batsmen of recent years, Butcher's early Test career has been characterised by a series of false dawns.

He looked to have cemented his place at the top of the order with a maiden Test century against South Africa last summer - but he then faltered on the tour of Australia.

His left-handedness complements his Surrey team-mate - and brother-in-law - Stewart, with whom he hopes to forge a useful opening partnership.

Tends to be enlisted as a medium pacer when his captains need to break a partnership.

Alec Stewart
Age: 36
Team:Surrey
Style: Right hand bat
The former skipper will be desperate for some authoritative innings after suffering a dispiriting start to the year.

Stewart found himself stripped of the captaincy following defeat in the Ashes series and an early World Cup exit.

The halcyon days of last summer, when he led England to their first major series victory in a decade at his very first attempt, now seem a long time ago.

But, having been relieved of the dual pressures of wicketkeeping and captaincy, he now has the chance to re-establish himself as one of the most domineering openers in Test cricket.

Graham Thorpe
Age: 29
Team: Surrey
Style: Left hand bat; Right arm medium
The most consistent batsman in the side and the ideal man to come in an increase the tempo in the middle of an innings.

A free scoring player at the best of times, one of the few who does not need to change his game between Tests and limited-overs matches.

Benefits from being left-handed, where he uses the angle of delivery to nudge and nurdle runs into the gaps. As much an accumulator of twos as he is striker of boundaries.

His average in both versions of the game has hovered around the 40-mark for some time.

Much will depend on whether he has fully recovered from the chronic back condition which kept him out of the C&U series. A player the selectors feel they cannot do without.

Mark Ramprakash
Age: 29
Team: Middlesex
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm off-break
For so long the under-achiever of English cricket, Ramprakash is now a fixture in the side.

In his early Test career he would start well, without ever building a decent score.

The 1998 West Indies tour proved a turning point, however, and in Australia, along with Hussain, he was the most reliable batsman in the side.

An athletic fielder, if prone to the occasional inexplicable lapse, he also offers another option with his off-spin.

Aftab Habib
Age: 27
Team: Leicestershire
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium fast
A late-comer to Test cricket, Habib has played himself into contention with a heap of middle-order runs in the last few seasons for reigning County Champions Leicestershire.

Averaged 51 in the championship last season and is seen as the ideal player to step up the scoring at No.6 in the order.

Developed from raw youngster at Middlesex to accomplished attacking batsman under the tutelage of Leicestershire captain James Whitaker and coach Jack Birkenshaw.

Chris Read
Age: 20
Team: Nottinghamshire
Style: Right hand bat; wicketkeeper
The surprise name in the squad for the first Test, Read has emerged as one of the most promising young wicketkeepers on the county scene.

Began his career with Gloucestershire and in 1997 was selected for the England A tour to Kenya and Sri Lanka, aged 18, despite not having yet played a first-class game.

At the start of this season he was told to score more runs to compliment his wicketkeeping if he wanted to be considered for full international honours.

He responds by smashing 160 against Warwickshire at Trent Bridge, more than doubling his previous-best score.

Andy Caddick
Age: 30
Team: Somerset
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium fast
Yet another enigmatic figure in the England set-up, Caddick has failed to live up to his promise by nailing down a regular place.

A penetrative pace bowler, he has suffered at times for appearing aloof on the field and has complained in the past about his relationship with senior members of the side.

Was left out of the tour party to Australia - but has responded with a host of early season wickets for Somerset that confirmed his return to the squad.

New Zealand-born, he should relish the chance to take on his former countrymen.

Alan Mullally
Age: 29
Teams: Leicestershire, Hampshire, Western Australia
Style: Right hand bat; Left arm medium-fast
Developed beyond recognition in Australia where England finally uncovered a genuine new ball partner for Darren Gough, and a left-armer at that.

Can bring the ball back in to, as well as move it across right-handed batsmen and, occasionally, can swing it both ways. A changed bowler from a year ago after building up his chest muscles weight-lifting last winter.

One of the few success stories in the World Cup, where he had the best economy rate of England's owlers. Must now work on his batting.

Alex Tudor
Age: 21
Team: Surrey
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium fast

England's great discovery of the last 12 month, Tudor was given his big break on the Ashes tour.

Selected for Australia primarily to give him a taste of touring life, he responded by forcing a place in the Perth Test, where he proved the most dangerous of the tourists' attack, taking 4-89 in Australia's first innings with some genuine pace.

Showed a maturity beyond his years, shrugging off his image as merely a raw speedster.

Accomplished with the bat, there are whispers within the England camp that he has the skill and temperament to fill the all-rounder spot that has for so long been the team's major failing.

Phil Tufnell
Age: 33
Team: Middlesex
Style: Right hand bat; Slow left arm orthodox
One of the great characters of the modern game, Tufnell is a gifted bowler who has earned his recall to the side largely because of the dearth of spinning talent in domestic cricket.

A match-winner on his day - as he showed most recently against Australia in the Oval Test match of 1997 - Tufnell, like so many other England players, has struggled for consistency.

Overlooked for the Ashes, he took the disappointment with good grace and the failure of contemporaries like Robert Croft, Ian Salisbury and Peter Such ensured the selectors' call was not long in coming.

For so long a liablility in the field (landing him the ironic nickname "The Cat") Tufnell is also a genuine No.11 batsman who is unlikely to trouble the scorers for too long.

Chris Silverwood
Age: 24
Team: Yorkshire
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm fast medium
An enthusiastic seamer who has played a major role in Yorkshire's rejuvenation in the past two seasons.

Made his solitary Test appearance against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo three years ago, after being handed a surprise place in the touring side.

Claimed four wickets on a creditable debut, but was the invisible member of the party when England toured the Caribbean last year.

Fought back into contention after rediscovering his form, but thought his chance of a recall had gone when he suffered a knee injury against Hampshire earlier in the season.

Dean Headley
Age: 29
Team: Kent
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm fast medium Third generation of a famous family - grandson of the legendary George, son of another West Indies player Ron - Headley made his Test debut in 1997 after a long run in the A side.

Impressed in his first series against Australia, but flopped in the West Indies and found himself out of favour last summer.

But was included in the Ashes touring party and broke back into the side for the last two Tests, where he proved himself a fierce competitor.

Man of the match in the fourth Test, when his six second innings wickets gave England a stunning, if rare, victory, he followed that by eight wickets in the final match in Sydney.



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