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CRICKET: Durham all-rounder Collingwood earns surprise England call-up.

DURHAM all-rounder Paul Collingwood was the surprise inclusion in England's 16-man squad to tour South Africa for a five-Test series this winter.

England were believed to be looking at a young bowler for the final place in the tour party with Worcestershire's Kabir Ali and Lancashire seamer Sajid Mahmood thought to be battling between each other for the remaining spot.

But today David Graveney revealed he and his fellow selectors had opted for Collingwood, who has barely featured in any of the squads during the recent series against West Indies and is regarded generally as a batting all-rounder rather than an attacking threat.

He is one of four players included in the squad who did not feature in the 4-0 whitewash of West Indies with Mark Butcher returning to England's ranks after a succession of injuries, along with Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper Chris Read and Worcestershire off-spinner Gareth Batty.

``We've chosen Paul Collingwood because we feel that his experience of the international arena and his adaptability will be of real benefit to the touring party and will better enable us to retain the right balance to the side in the event of injury to our one all-rounder, Andrew Flintoff, '' explained Graveney this afternoon.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 25, 2004
Words:201
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