England's national selector Geoff Miller has said he wanted to give the team management more options by picking a fifth seamer in the England squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, starting Wednesday.
Miller is not one to give surprises while announcing the team, but he created a mild flutter by including an extra seamer in Graham Onions, which means that skipper Alistair Cook and coach Andy Flower will have to omit two fast bowlers on the morning of the match.
"It is better to be safe and we wanted to give the captain and coach every possible option," said Miller.
Onions bowls well to the left-handers (the Australians have plenty of southpaws) and Trent Bridge has helped swing bowlers in the recent past, but it would be a big surprise if he gets into the playing eleven.
Onions played three Tests against Australia in 2009, and last played for England against the West Indies at Edgbaston a year ago. However he only got to play because Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested with the series already won.
"We are satisfied with our preparations so far ahead of the first Test with both Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad recovering well from the injuries they picked up earlier this week. The squad will continue their hard work over the next few days and will be eagerly anticipating the start of the series on Wednesday at Trent Bridge," said Miller.
Star batsman Kevin Pietersen too returns to the Test squad for the first time since March following a knee injury.
The rest of the England squad is on expected lines with Nick Compton getting left out, despite batting well in his two games against the Australians, after Miller said Joe Root would be promoted to open the innings. The 22-year-old Yorkshire man does bat at the top for the county but has not done so far at the Test level.