England vs Pakistan – Selectors retain Morgan for long-form game
England national selector Geoff Miller has announced that Eoin Morgan and Ajmal Shahzad are in the squad that will take on Pakistan in the first Test at Trent Bridge next week.
Also in the 12-man line-up are captain Andrew Strauss, who sat out the tour to Bangladesh, and Stuart Broad and Paul Collingwood, who were rested for the first two Tests of the summer.
Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann, who were excused for the recent three-match ODI series against the Tigers, are picked too.
Miller insisted the series against Pakistan is vital for building momentum ahead of the Ashes, which England are 12/5 to win. “There are a lot of people knocking on the door,” he said.
“We feel this is the right side to take on a Pakistan side who are fairly buoyant now after beating Australia.”
The Aussies suffered a three-wicket defeat at Headingley on Saturday and are now 4/7 to win the series against England Down Under in November.
The draw is a 5/1 chance.
Morgan, key man in England’s Twenty20 World Cup success this year, had two chances to impress in the longer form against Bangladesh in Collingwood’s place and made a pair of bright, if ultimately inconclusive, starts of around 40.
The Irishman stays instead of injured Ian Bell and the 23-year-old will be vital if England are 6/1 to retain their T20 title in 2012.
Miller added: “We have continued with Ajmal Shahzad, who is bowling really well, and Steven Finn comes back after his strengthening programme.”
There was no place for Tim Bresnan or James Tredwell, despite their one-day performances, nor was there room for Ravi Bopara.
Full England squad:
A Strauss (capt), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, P Collingwood, E Morgan, M Prior (wkt), G Swann, S Broad, S Finn, J Anderson, A Shahzad
Pakistan are one of the favourites for the World Cup next year, one of a trio of countries on 6/1. See the full Ashes betting market.