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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 17:29 UK

Strauss & Cook to miss finals day

England batsmen Andrew Strauss (left) and Alastair Cook
Cook and Strauss must rest ahead of the third Test with South Africa

England have ruled opening batsmen Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss out of Twenty20 finals day on Saturday.

Cook, who plays for Essex, and Strauss, who represents Middlesex, have both been asked to rest ahead of the third Test against South Africa on 30 July.

"It was deemed after two tough Test matches that those players who played in both Tests will not be available," said an England spokesman.

Saturday's two finalists are guaranteed a place in October's Champions League.

The two teams that win the semi-finals at the Rose Bowl will qualify for the money-spinning competition and face teams from Australia, India and South Africa.

But Strauss and Cook will not be able to help their teams after England's decision, made on the back of Monday's comprehensive 10-wicket defeat in the second Test at Headingley.

"It's a huge disappointment," Middlesex coach Toby Radford told BBC London 94.9.

"He played back-to-back Tests and they don't think eight days off in two weeks is enough ahead of the next Test.

"I spoke to England coach Peter Moores after the game and he said he'd sat down with Straussie and just believed it was a heavy Test match series and he really needed the time off between games.

"I pointed out it was a Twenty20 match, it doesn't last for too long and wasn't going to affect him energy-wise.

"It is also a huge huge game for the club - probably the biggest we've had in 15 years - but unfortunately that didn't change his mind."

Radford admits that victory in the semi-final on Saturday is as - if not more - important than actually winning this year's competition, with a lucrative prize at stake:

"For us, winning the semi-final is massive. We get into the Champions League and we go off to Dubai for 10 days at the end of September," said Radford.

"I even said to Peter we'd just play Andrew in the first game and if we got to the final I'd probably leave him out, because for us the first game is the biggest game and getting into that Champions League."

see also
Durham v Glamorgan
21 Jul 08 |  Counties
Yorkshire Twenty20 hopes finished
14 Jul 08 |  Counties

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