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Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Anderson axed for Stanford game

England bowler James Anderson
Anderson has been a regular figure in the England one-day set-up

Fast bowler James Anderson is the surprise absentee from the England team to face the Stanford Superstars in Saturday's $20m showdown in Antigua.

Ravi Bopara, Alastair Cook and Ryan Sidebottom will also miss the chance to win the $1m-per-player prize money.

Anderson's omission allows captain Kevin Pietersen to call in Graeme Swann as a second spinner.

It is the first time that Anderson has been dropped from an England limited-overs side for over a year.

The Lancashire man was last omitted for a contest against Australia at the World Twenty20 in September 2007.

However, he missed Tuesday's narrow win over Trinidad and Tobago with a stomach bug.

His omission is the only change from the XI which wrapped up a comprehensive 4-0 victory over South Africa in the NatWest Series.

The effectiveness of the slow bowlers on the Coolidge surface earlier in the week persuaded England's management to draft in Swann, whose last one-day international was against New Zealand in June.

"It was never going to be the easiest decision, in fact it was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in terms of carrying 11 players on the field," said Pietersen.

"We haven't played a second spinner for I don't know how long but unfortunately conditions have meant Jimmy has to miss out.

"But he has taken it brilliantly well, he has been absolutely fantastic at training.

HOW STANFORD'S $20m IS SPLIT
The 11 winning players will receive $1m each
The four remaining members of the winning squad will share $1m
The winning back-room staff members will share $1m
The ECB and WICB will each receive $3.5m

"It has been very difficult for him, especially being an integral part of the team for the past 12 months.

"He has taken the field on every occasion but we realise that we play to win for England and unfortunately the circumstances have arisen in terms of the pitch and the outfield, and the way games have gone. We have to play another spinner.

"It is not as though the lads have been left out and nothing is going to happen if we win, there is still a buzz about stuff and we all want to win."

The week leading up to the game has been marred by controversial incidents, including the games backer - Sir Allen Stanford - being pictured sitting among the players' partners, with Matt Prior's pregnant wife Emily on his lap.

There have also been doubts as to the quality of the pitch and floodlights at the ground.

"I'm just relieved that all the nonsense from this week is finished," added Pietersen.

TMS BLOG
BBC's Jonathan Agnew

"We are here to play cricket. Obviously, when you play sport for your country there is a lot of stuff that happens around it and you just have to deal with it the best way you can.

"I think the boys and the management have been absolutely fantastic this week. The guys have carried themselves carried themselves perfectly."

On the playing conditions, Pietersen said: "It will be interesting to see how the pitch behaves because it has been dreadful this week so we will have to wait and see.

"At the moment, I think the wicket brings the sides closer together."

Pietersen also brushed off concerns of resentment from the players who will miss out on the huge prize money should England win.

"We can deal with it," he said. "The boys have had a good chat about it and it's fine. No problem."


England: Kevin Pietersen (capt), Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Samit Patel, Matt Prior (wk), Owais Shah, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.

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see also
ECB plans Stanford Series review
29 Oct 08 |  England
Six balls for $20m
29 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Stanford Super Series fixtures
29 Oct 08 |  Cricket
England hold nerve to clinch win
28 Oct 08 |  England
Antigua lights concern Pietersen
27 Oct 08 |  England
Stanford backs IPL participation
27 Oct 08 |  Cricket
New-look English Twenty20 agreed
16 Jul 08 |  Counties


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