Eoin Morgan retains place in England squad for first Pakistan Test

Eoin Morgan has retained his place in the England squad for the first Test against Pakistan at Trent Bridge next week.

The Irishman was given his first chance to shine in the long format of the game in the two-Test series against Bangladesh and has been given another opportunity to impress by the selectors with a view to playing a role in the Ashes series this winter.

Kevin Pietersen has been included despite his inability to get match practice for a month after Hampshire opted not to include him in their domestic plans after he announced he would leave the county at the end of the season.

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Paceman Stuart Broad and all-rounder Paul Collingwood have returned to the 12-man England squad after being rested for the Bangladesh series, while Ian Bell misses out because of a broken bone in his foot suffered while fielding in a one-day international against Bangladesh earlier this month.

Seam bowler Steven Finn has been kept on in the squad, as has Yorkshire's Ajmal Shahzad after he made his Test debut in the series against Bangladesh.

National selector Geoff Miller said: "We have picked a very strong squad for the first Test against a Pakistan side that will be high on confidence following their recent win against Australia.

"We've been encouraged by the form shown by a number of England players involved in LV County Championship matches this week and those that are coming back from injury or rest, such as Kevin Pietersen, have been working very hard ahead of the first Test next week.

"Ian Bell's untimely foot injury during the NatWest Series was obviously a disappointing blow but he is now focused on his rehabilitation and should make a full recovery in due course. Ian's absence provides other batsmen with the chance to impress against a world class Pakistan bowling attack."

In-form Essex batsman Ravi Bopara was edged out by Morgan, while Tim Bresnan and James Tredwell were other squad contenders to miss out.

Miller said: "We have got good competition and healthy competition for places so there were always going to be issues and some difficult decisions to be made.

"We have continued with Ajmal Shahzad who is bowling really well and Steven Finn comes back after his strengthening programme and I'm sure he will be keen to continue the good form he has shown.

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"Bopara has been playing really well but we want to see a bit more from Eoin, he played well for Middlesex in his last game. Yes, we want to win this match and win this series but we have an eye on the winter as well and we have got to make sure that the equation is sorted, so Eoin keeps his place."

Miller insisted the series against Pakistan was vital for building momentum ahead of the Ashes

He added: "There are a lot of people knocking on the door, we wanted strength in depth and gradually we are getting that.

"We feel this is the right side to take on a Pakistan side who are fairly buoyant now after beating Australia."

England squad for the first npower Test against Pakistan starting on Thursday, 29 July at Trent Bridge: A Strauss (capt), J Anderson, S Broad, P Collingwood, A Cook, S Finn, E Morgan, K Pietersen, M Prior (wkt), A Shahzad, G Swann, J Trott.