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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 August, 2003, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Thorpe makes England return
Graham Thorpe
Whether it's one game, 10, 20 or 30 games I will be doing my best
Graham Thorpe
England have recalled Graham Thorpe to the Test squad for the final match of the summer against South Africa at The Oval.

Thorpe, 34, has missed a year of Test cricket and in July last year announced his retirement from one-day internationals in order to focus on his personal life.

The left-handed batsman from Surrey is one of 13 players named in a squad who have to win the Test, starting on Thursday, to square the series 2-2.

Gareth Batty, the Worcestershire off-spinner, is one of two slow bowlers in the squad and he could conceivably make his debut.

The selectors also welcome back the fit-again Durham paceman Steve Harmison, who missed the defeat at Headingley.

As expected, neither Nasser Hussain nor James Kirtley are named in the squad - both men are out injured.

Elsewhere, none of the team who failed at Headingley have been dropped.

THORPE'S TEST RECORD
Debut appearance v Australia, Nottingham 1993
Last played v India, Lord's 2002
77 matches, 5,109 runs, average 41.87, 30x50s, 11x100
Highest score: 200 not out

Somerset seamer Richard Johnson, who made a delayed and successful entry into the international arena at the start of the summer, has been overlooked despite regaining fitness.

The selectors also ignored the claims of Middlesex opening batsman Andrew Strauss, and Glamorgan off-spinner Robert Croft.

One question mark remains over the veteran Surrey seamer Martin Bicknell. He has a hamstring problem and will play for his county in a one-day match on Sunday in a game which will serve as a fitness test for him.

Thorpe told BBC Five Live he was "thrilled" to be back in the England camp.

HAVE YOUR SAY

"I will try to take this opportunity with both hands," he said. "I've been waiting for this but I've been enjoying my cricket with Surrey throughout the summer."

"It's going to be tough. It's not as though I'm going into something I haven't done before but I've been out for a year and that's a long time to be out of international cricket."

Confirming he would be available for all three of the forthcoming winter tours, he went on: "Whether it's one game, 10, 20 or 30 games I will be doing my best and we will have to see how it pans out."


England squad: Michael Vaughan (capt.), Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher, Graham Thorpe, Ed Smith, Alec Stewart (wkt), Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Martin Bicknell, Kabir Ali, Gareth Batty, James Anderson, Steve Harmison.



Links to more Eng v SA 2003 stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
England's Graham Thorpe
"I'm thrilled to be back"


England's chairman of selectors David Graveney
"We need to pick the best team"



SEE ALSO
Thorpe ready to commit
12 Jul 03  |  Cricket
Injury ends Hussain's season
29 Aug 03  |  Essex


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