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Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 12:30 UK

Swann and Prior in England squad

Swann and Prior are in a 15-man squad
Swann and Prior are already included in the one-day squad

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior and spinner Graeme Swann are part of a 15-man England squad selected for the Test series against India in December.

Prior will be vying with Tim Ambrose for the wicketkeeper's gloves.

Swann was preferred to Adil Rashid and Samit Patel as the second spinner alongside Monty Panesar.

And Owais Shah, who can bowl spin, was picked ahead of Ravi Bopara in the spare batting slot created by Michael Vaughan's absence.

National selector Geoff Miller said Shah got the nod ahead of Young Cricketer of the Year Bopara because he was a better player of spin.

"He played a superb innings in India on his Test debut two years ago," said Miller.

"It's a further opportunity for him to build on his success with the one-day side this year and his inclusion in the squad will create real competition for places within the batting unit."

Vaughan, who stood down as England captain at the beginning of August, missed the final Test of the summer.

He returned to his county Yorkshire in an effort to regain batting form but failed to perform and is now planning a three-month break from the game.

However Vaughan, who was awarded a central contract by the England and Wales Cricket Board, could join up with the England Performance Programme squad, who are touring India at the same time as the full squad.

England selector Geoff Miller says the selection was 'straightforward'

In the bowling department England utilised two spinners - Panesar and veteran off-spinner Shaun Udal - to beat India in Mumbai in March 2006.

This time, the selectors opted for off-spinner Swann, who turns the ball the opposite way from Panesar, ahead of Rashid and Patel, with Miller saying: "Graeme provides us with a right-arm/left-arm slow bowling combination which we believe can be effective in India."

And Swann told BBC Sport: "I'm clearly delighted to get the call, it's been a bit of a nervy wait to see if I was in or not.

"I feel like I've bowled possibly better than ever this season and it'll be great to test myself on the sub-continent, which I know is the best place in the world to bowl spin. I'm keen to get out there in both forms and do myself justice.

"I played alongside Monty Panesar in my time at Northants and it's a partnership I look forward to renewing.

"Hopefully the wicket will be turning and that will play into my hands. Also, with Ryan Sidebottom playing there should be a bit of rough for the right-handers which will be in my favour."

Matt Prior has enjoyed an impressive domestic season

Geoff Miller
Regarding the wicketkeeper, Ambrose is the man in possession of the gloves and has an ECB increment (second-tier) contract, but he had a disappointing summer with the bat.

Prior performed better for Sussex and could well win his 11th Test cap in India.

But all Miller would say was: "Matt Prior has enjoyed an impressive domestic season with Sussex and having re-established himself in the England one-day side, he will now compete with Tim Ambrose for the position of Test wicketkeeper."

England's one-day squad will be in India from early November to play seven matches across the country, with the Test specialists expected to join them ahead of the warm-up match in Baroda which starts on 5 December.

They then play two Tests, Ahmedabad starting 11 December and Mumbai, beginning 19 December.

England also announced a 15-man England Performance Programme squad to tour India in November and December.

"Touring India will provide the players with an opportunity to learn more about the challenges of playing on the sub-continent as well as providing our Test and one-day squads with stand-by players in case of injury," added Miller.

England squad: Kevin Pietersen (capt), Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Tim Ambrose (wk), Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Steve Harmison, James Anderson, Monty Panesar, Ryan Sidebottom, Owais Shah, Graeme Swann.

England Performance Programme squad: Tim Bresnan, Mark Davies, Steven Davies, Joe Denly, Robbie Joseph, Robert Key, Amjad Khan, Sajid Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Stephen Moore, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Ollie Rayner, Jonathan Trott

see also
India move England one-day match
29 Sep 08 |  England
Vaughan omitted from India tour
27 Sep 08 |  England
Vaughan handed England contract
09 Sep 08 |  England
Tendulkar boost for Aussie Tests
26 Sep 08 |  Cricket
England in India 2008
14 Jul 08 |  Cricket

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