LONDON // England's selectors chose not to recall the all-rounder Andrew Flintoff for next week's first Test in a four-game home series against South Africa. They have decided to name an unchanged 12-man, which features the same line-up that claimed a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in the three-Test series earlier this summer. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said if England play the same starting 11 for the first Test it would be the first time a country was unchanged for six consecutive Tests, a run stretching back to March's second Test in New Zealand.
"The England Test side has won four of their past five matches and most recently the series against New Zealand so we feel there's no need to change a winning formula," the selector Geoff Miller said in a statement. "The players are on a run and we want to continue that. "There have been a number of players pushing for selection in recent weeks which is extremely pleasing but consistency in selection and consistency in performance has led us to maintain the same squad."
The first Test begins on July 10 at Lord's and is followed by games at Headingley, Edgbaston and The Oval. Flintoff, who missed the last series after the latest of a long line of ankle injuries, is back playing for county side Lancashire but was always a long shot for a recall. "Andrew Flintoff has worked extremely hard to be back playing some very good cricket for Lancashire which is a credit to his determination and patience," Miller said.
"The selectors are keen to see Andrew get more overs under his belt and spend some more time in the middle before recalling him to the Test side. "We're all eager to see him back playing for England but there's nothing to be gained from rushing him back until he has proved he's ready to meet the demands of Test cricket. There is a lot of cricket on the horizon and we want Andrew to be a part of that without jeopardising his fitness."
The selectors also named a provisional 30-man squad for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan in September. That squad, to be cut down to 15 by August 11, included five players yet to play a One Day International as well as pace bowler Simon Jones, who last played for England in the successful 2005 Ashes campaign. England Test squad: Michael Vaughan (captain), Tim Ambrose, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss, Chris Tremlett.