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Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Alastair Cook stands in for jaded Andrew Strauss


Strauss defends his right to rest

"Jaded" England captain Andrew Strauss will miss the tour to the UAE and Bangladesh next month, with Alastair Cook, 25, standing in as skipper.

Strauss is rested along with seamer James Anderson who will have his troublesome right knee injury assessed.

Yorkshire pace bowler Ajmal Shahzad, Kent off-spinner James Tredwell and Hampshire batsman Michael Carberry form a trio of uncapped players included.

Paul Collingwood is named captain for the two Twenty20 games in Dubai.

Strauss said: "It's been a long year, I do feel jaded, and I'm very conscious that in the next 18 months from June we have the Ashes and the World Cup, two big priorities for this team.

"If you accept the need to rest players, then the captain should be allowed to rest too. The notion that the captain must just carry on until he is mentally and physically exhausted just doesn't make sense. I would never forgive myself if I turned up for the next Ashes feeling exhausted."


Cook said: "I'm very excited, I can't wait to start. I won't be so much a gambling captain, I tend to think things through for a long time before making decisions."

England play Twenty20s against Pakistan on 19 and 20 February and the squad then flies on to Bangladesh the following day, where they play three one-day internationals followed by two Tests.

Surprisingly overlooked is Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid, the 21-year-old who has played five one-day internationals and five Twenty20 matches for England.

It is expected Anderson will be fully fit for the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in late April. The fast bowler who took 12 wickets in the five Ashes Tests, improved with 16 in the four matches in South Africa.

But he has been troubled by a sore knee for some time and will embark on what the England hierarchy term "a specialist review and a programme of rehabilitation."

Kevin Pietersen needs to spend some time in the middle now. We didn't cover ourselves in glory with the bat in South Africa

Geoff Miller

Strauss had a poor series with the bat in South Africa, averaging only 24.28 with a best score of 54 in the four Tests.

He will be the first fit England captain to be rested from a whole tour since the advent of central contracts in 1999, but national selector Geoff Miller told BBC Radio 5 live it was something other countries were starting to do.

"It's a break from the mental side of international cricket and we are not setting a precedent," he said.

"Graeme Smith of South Africa and Mahendra Dhoni of India have had a series break. We feel it is a necessity these days for a captain somewhere along the line to have a break from international cricket."

He added that for Cook, a former England under-19 captain who has also led the senior side in one Twenty20 international, the Bangladesh tour would essentially be an audition for future engagements.

Cook 'honoured' to take captain's role

"We are identifying what we need to do in the future and we need to find out whether he can take the role of captaincy. He has the opportunity to show us whether he can captain or not in Bangladesh."

Players would not be able to pick and choose when to take breaks in future, added Miller. He said that Kevin Pietersen, whose form has been poor of late, could benefit from playing in Bangladesh.

"Three may be one or two [others] who need a break in the future. Kevin needs to spend some time in the middle now. We didn't cover ourselves in glory with the bat in South Africa. We'll decide when and where they have the break."

Of the new additions Miller said: "We are delighted to welcome Ajmal Shahzad to both squads for the first time.

"He enjoyed an excellent season with Yorkshire last year, made a strong impression while he was in South Africa with the performance squad and is a bowler with the potential to make a real impact in international cricket.

Shahzad 'shocked' by England call

"James Tredwell and Michael Carberry have also continued to impress the selectors over the course of the winter and we expect both players to make a strong challenge for inclusion in our starting line-up on the forthcoming tour."

Miller identified Carberry as a possible Test opener, but said there were also options available among other squad members. The only other specialist opener named besides Cook is Worcestershire's Steve Davies, the back-up wicketkeeper to Matt Prior.

Shahzad told BBC Radio 5 live: "I want to be like James Anderson. I have seen the amount of control he has with the ball.

"I am a very aggressive bowler naturally and I enjoy the battle when I come up against batsmen.

"There are other bowlers in the squad with far more experience to offer but I'm going to enjoy myself and I want to put my name in the hat for selection."

Test squad: A Cook (captain), I Bell, S Broad, M Carberry, P Collingwood, S Davies (wkt), G Onions, K Pietersen, L Plunkett, M Prior (wkt), A Shahzad, R Sidebottom, G Swann, J Tredwell, J Trott, L Wright.

One-day squad: A Cook (captain), T Bresnan, S Broad, P Collingwood, J Denly, E Morgan, M Prior (wkt), K Pietersen, L Plunkett, R Sidebottom, A Shahzad, G Swann, J Tredwell, J Trott, L Wright.

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see also
Flower backs Pietersen to shine
18 Jan 10 |  England
Ex-captains divided over Strauss
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Jonathan Agnew column
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Kent pair delighted with call-up
18 Jan 10 |  Kent
Michael Vaughan Q&A
17 Jan 10 |  Cricket
England to face Pakistan in Dubai
08 Jan 10 |  Cricket
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Strauss may miss Bangladesh tour
11 Oct 09 |  England
England collapse to heavy defeat
17 Jan 10 |  England
Review errors no excuse - Strauss
17 Jan 10 |  England
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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