LONDON: Graham Onions was recalled by England on Saturday as they boosted their bowling options by naming five seamers in a 13-man squad for the first Test of the Ashes series against Australia at Trent Bridge next week.
Durham paceman Onions won the last of his nine Test caps against the West Indies at Edgbaston last year. He was joined in the squad by Yorkshire seam-bowling all-rounder Tim Bresnan, who missed the recent home series win over New Zealand while he recovered from elbow surgery.
Also in the squad were pace trio James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn.
Broad missed England's warm-up win over Essex with a shoulder injury, a match where key off-spinner Graeme Swann was struck a painful blow on the right arm having had surgery on his right elbow earlier this year. But both bowlers were passed fit.
England national selector Geoff Miller stressed the 30-year-old Onions, whose 32 Test wickets have come at a shade under 30 apiece, was more than just injury cover.
“We'll have to wait and see what the conditions are like. They, and the surface, could change in four or five days,” Miller told Sky Sports.
“Then that gives the captain and the coach the opportunity to go in whichever direction they wish. It's better to be safe.”
As expected, Nick Compton was left out of the squad after Miller had previously said Joe Root would be promoted to open the innings, something the 22-year-old does for Yorkshire but has yet to do at Test level, alongside captain Alastair Cook.
Somerset opener Compton, grandson of England great Denis, scored back-to-back hundreds in New Zealand earlier this year but was omitted after a poor return series against the Kiwis that saw him manage just 39 runs in four innings.
“Joe will open the batting, but we'll see what happens from then onwards,” Miller said.
Root managed 41 and 26 against Essex at Chelmsford while Compton responded to the disappointment of being told he'd been displaced by making more than 200 runs against Australia in back-to-back tour fixtures for Somerset and then Worcestershire.
After those innings, Compton said he had not been given a “fair crack of the whip”, having scored 479 runs in all at 31.93 in nine Tests since first being picked by England in November.
Former England off-spinner Miller insisted he had no problems with Compton's words, saying: “I absolutely want players to be disappointed that they've not been selected to play for England, when they're round about that kind of quality. “I told him that we've not closed the door on him at all.”
Meanwhile star batsman Kevin Pietersen was recalled to the Test squad for the first time since March following a knee injury.
England will be bidding to win their third straight series against Australia -- something they last managed in the 1950s -- when the first Test of a five-match campaign starts in Nottingham on Wednesday.
But a cautious Miller added: “They're never easy... We are playing against a very good side. We respect them, but don't fear them.”
With the British and Irish Lions rugby union team beating Australia in Sydney earlier Saturday to complete a 2-1 series win, and Andy Murray bidding to becoming the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon men's singles title in Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic, Miller said he hoped the cricket side could tap into an upbeat national mood.
“Obviously, the British Isles is buoyant after what the Lions have just done,” Miller explained.
“We'd just like Andy Murray to follow it up in his final, and then we hope we can carry it on.
“We want the sporting nation to be excited about what is coming up. I'm sure they will be -- because this is an exciting time.”
England 13-man squad for first Test against Australia: Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Graham Onions (Durham)