sport

England call for spinners

England have added spinners Scott Borthwick and James Tredwell to their Ashes squad following Graeme Swann's surprise retirement.

Uncapped leg-spinner Borthwick will be available for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne but Tredwell - whose sole Test experience came three years ago in Bangladesh - will report to Melbourne but not in time to figure in the dead rubber.

England conceded the Ashes after suffering a third successive wide-margin defeat in Perth last week.

Slow left-armer Monty Panesar is the likeliest replacement for Swann at the MCG but both new arrivals will hope for a chance of playing in the final Test in Sydney.

An England and Wales Cricket Board press release read: "Borthwick will arrive into Melbourne later today, will train with England...and will be available for selection for the (fourth) Test, beginning on Boxing Day.

"Tredwell will arrive in Melbourne during the fourth Test and will be available for selection for the final Test in Sydney beginning on January 3."

But for Panesar, there is the prospect in what will be his 50th Test of proving a point for himself and his team.

"I would say they've been a bit more ruthless in their cricket," he said of England's hosts, who lost 3-0 in the first of this year's back-to-back Ashes series last summer.

"They've come quite hard at us - and you have to give credit to the Australians, the way they've played their game.

"They've fought really hard and always put us under pressure, never let us get back in the game.

"They've played a really strong brand of cricket, so we're hungry and determined to show what we can do to them as well.

"In these next two Tests we want to show what this team is about."

For 31-year-old Panesar personally, after his moderate showing in Adelaide and having played second fiddle to Swann for much of the past five years, Melbourne may be step one towards re-establishing himself as England's number one spinner.

"I hope I can take this opportunity and grab it," he said. "It's up to me. I'm looking forward to it and geared up for it.

"If I can get my game in the right order then I hope I can take this chance."

Sky Cricket analyst and former England captain Mike Atherton expects Panesar to get the call, should England opt for a spinner, but believes Borthwick can stake a claim for the long-term.

"Swann implied at his press conference that the selectors would look beyond Monty eventually and the one he picked out was Borthwick, partly because he plays in a similar way to Swann," Atherton said.

"Obviously he's a leg-spinner and not an off-spinner but he plays with a bit of exuberance and seems to enjoy his cricket so his name will be banded around.

"Monty has got the experience and the wickets under his belt so if England play a solitary spinner you think he'd be the one. But the pitch looks quite green and if it is then England could go with four seamers and Joe Root as a second spinner."