LONDON: England dropped Eoin Morgan from their Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka following the former Ireland batsman’s dismal series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Middlesex left-hander Morgan averaged just 13.66 against Pakistan as England were whitewashed 3-0 in their first series since climbing to the top of the world Test rankings.
His omission has given a chance to spin bowling all-rounder Samit Patel, uncapped at Test level, who will compete alongside Ravi Bopara, a batsman and seam bowler, for a place in England’s middle order.
Seam bowler and hard-hitting batsman Tim Bresnan returned to the squad after missing the Pakistan series with an elbow injury and Graham Onions, brought in as cover for the Yorkshireman, dropped out of the 16-man party, that will again be captained by Andrew Strauss.
And with pitches in Sri Lanka, as was the case in the UAE, expected to take turn, Kent off-spinner James Tredwell — who played one Tests in 2010 — was called up to give England four specialist slow bowlers with Graeme Swann and left-armer Monty Panesar, who impressed against Pakistan, retained.
While the main squad will depart for Sri Lanka on March 10, seven members of the squad will travel there ahead of their of colleagues to begin preparations for the Test series.
England batting coach Graham Gooch will lead the training camp involving Strauss, batsman Ian Bell, wicketkeeper Matt Prior, reserve gloveman Steven Davies, Panesar, Patel and Tredwell
But while England struggled against Pakistan in Test cricket, their one-day side completed a 4-0 rout of Pakistan in the UAE before taking the Twenty20 series 2-1.
England will play the first of two Tests against Sri Lanka in Galle starting on March 26.
England Test Squad
Andrew Strauss (captain),
Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara,
Tim Bresnan Stuart Broad,
Steven Davies (wkt),
Matt Prior (wkt),
March 15-17 v Sri Lanka Board XI, Colombo
March 20-22 v Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI, Colombo
March 26-30 v Sri Lanka 1st Test, Galle
April 03-07 v Sri Lanka 2nd Test, Colombo