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England drops opener Andrew Strauss for test tour to Sri Lanka

England dropped Andrew Strauss for its three-test tour of Sri Lanka following the opener’s poor form over the past year.

The selectors called up the uncapped Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Phil Mustard and Graeme Swann from the one-day squad and recalled Owais Shah, but opted to drop Strauss for the first time even though he is still contracted to the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Strauss was England’s acting captain a year ago and was considered for the role for the disastrous Ashes defense in Australia, but has averaged just 27 over the past year.

He scored 96 in the first test against India in July, but has not hit a century since August 2006.

With Strauss absent, Alastair Cook and captain Michael Vaughan will open the batting.

“Andrew Strauss needs to recover his best form,” chairman of selectors David Graveney said. “We fully anticipate that he will have a major role to play with England in the next 12 months, and he will be considered for the tour of New Zealand in the New Year.”

England also opted against recalling 38-year-old batsman Mark Ramprakash. Ramprakash averaged just 27 in his 52 tests, the last of which was against New Zealand five years ago, but has averaged more than 100 for Surrey the past two seasons.

“You can’t do any more than Mark Ramprakash has done,” Graveney said. “He was discussed at length but ... I’ve spoken to him to tell him the rationale of why we’ve got the seven batsmen we’ve got.”

Graveney said Ramprakash would be among several players considered as replacements should there be any injuries.

“Keep doing what you’re doing,” Graveney said. “That’s the only message there can be.”

England squad: Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Alastair Cook (Essex), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Philip Mustard (Durham), Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Matthew Prior (Sussex), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire). LONDON, AP

 

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