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Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 11:19 UK

Hoggard included in Lions squad

Matthew Hoggard in action for Yorkshire
Hoggard has been taking wickets for Yorkshire

Matthew Hoggard has been named in the England Lions 12-man squad to face New Zealand on 8 May at the Rose Bowl.

The seamer has been given an early chance to impress the England selectors after he was dropped after the first Test defeat to New Zealand in March.

"He is a fighter and he will not want to give up his England place easily," said national selector Geoff Miller.

The Lions will be led by Kent's Robert Key and also include Matt Prior, Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah and Chris Tremlett.

But there is no place for Durham's Steve Harmison, who was dropped alongside Hoggard after England's 189-run defeat in Hamilton.

Hoggard has been in excellent touch during the early stages of the season, taking eight County Championship wickets for Yorkshire, including 6-57 against Hampshire at Headingley.


"This will be another chance for him to show what he is capable of against an international side," said Miller.

Lions skipper Key also enhanced his senior recall prospects with 178 on the first day of Kent's three-day game against New Zealand at Canterbury on Monday.

"Robert Key enjoyed an excellent season for Kent last year and he will bring his experience of leading his county to the captain's role," added Miller.

But the 28-year-old faces stiff competition from Shah and Bopara, who featured in England's winter tours to Sri Lanka and New Zealand, and who have both begun the season with championship hundreds.

The match also provides Prior, who lost his Test place to Tim Ambrose after the Sri Lanka tour, an opportunity to persuade the selectors to re-evaluate the wicket-keeper debate.

A strong performance from Yorkshire's Adil Rashid could put the all-rounder in contention for a first Test call-up ahead of the first Test, which starts on 15 May at Lord's.

England Lions squad to face New Zealand:

Robert Key (Kent) (captain)
Ravinder Bopara (Essex)
Michael Carberry (Hampshire)
Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire)
Steven Kirby (Gloucestershire)
Matt Prior (Sussex)
Graham Onions (Durham)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Owais Shah (Middlesex)
Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)
Chris Tremlett (Hampshire)
Luke Wright (Sussex)

see also
England in New Zealand 2008
03 Jul 07 |  Cricket
Key hopes ton can ignite summer
28 Apr 08 |  England
Hoggard haul keeps Yorks on top
25 Apr 08 |  Counties
Hoggard haul enhances Test claims
24 Apr 08 |  Counties
Selectors 'vindicated' - Hoggard
15 Apr 08 |  England
Low-point for English cricket
12 Mar 08 |  England

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