Geoff Miller, England's national selector, will today announce the squad to take on Pakistan in the first Test at Trent Bridge on Thursday and he is unlikely to be answering questions about rotation afterwards. Workload management has become a feature of the national side under Andy Flower, the team director, and there have been key absences in several squads this year. Andrew Strauss, the captain, sat out the tour to Bangladesh, Stuart Broad and Paul Collingwood were rested for the first two Tests of the summer, while Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann were excused for the recent three-match one-day international series against the Tigers.
Now, with just four more Tests before the Ashes, nobody will be willing to volunteer their place in the side for a spot on the sofa. As Strauss has hinted, now is the time to put the men who are likely to be on the front line in Australia through their paces as a team. One man who is unable to be there is Ian Bell, who fractured a metatarsal while fielding in the second ODI against Bangladesh earlier this month and is set to miss the series.
Eoin Morgan, star turn of the 50 and 20 over sides, heads the list of candidates vying to replace him. Ravi Bopara, whose Test career hit the buffers against Australia last summer, looks a successfully rehabilitated batsman after he celebrated his successful recent recall to the one-day team with twin centuries against Yorkshire last week. That form could earn him a place in the squad but he would expect to be the spare batsman when the final XI comes.
The bowling ranks will present an interesting decision - with Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad, Yorkshire county colleagues, potentially vying for just one position as the final bowler in a 13-man squad. * PA