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Matt Prior has been dropped from the England Test and one-day squads to tour New Zealand.

The 25-year-old Sussex wicketkeeper paid the price for a below-par performance in the Test series defeat in Sri Lanka last month when he was guilty of costly errors in the field.

Warwickshire's Tim Ambrose has been called up, with Durham's Philip Mustard retaining his place in the squad.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney said: "Tim Ambrose fully deserves an opportunity at this level following impressive performances for the England Performance squad in India before Christmas and for Warwickshire last season.

"Matt Prior performed well with the bat in Sri Lanka and it has been a difficult decision to leave him out of this tour. But the selectors feel that he needs to further improve his wicket-keeping in order to realise his full potential in international cricket."

Ambrose was called into the Test and one-day squads, while James Tredwell was brought into the one-day squad.

Andrew Strauss was recalled into the Test squad after missing out in Sri Lanka and will join up with the tour party in New Zealand after playing for Northern Knights in the State Shield and Twenty20 competitions.

"Andrew Strauss needed a break from international cricket in our view and he will now be keen to re-establish himself in the Test side," Graveney added.

"His experience will be of benefit to the squad as a whole and his inclusion will also provide us with alternative options if required at the top of the batting order."

Sussex batsman Michael Yardy has been named as captain of the England Lions squad which will compete in The Duleep Trophy in India later this month.

Monty Panesar will tour India with the Lions prior to joining up with England's Test squad in New Zealand.

Graveney revealed that Prior's indifferent form with the gloves during the Test series with Sri Lanka was the reason for his exclusion.

"I assure you the wicketkeeper has been a well discussed area since Alec Stewart retired," he told Sky Sports News.

"It was a difficult decision, all decisions are difficult.

"We felt in this instance, as well as he has batted, there are areas of his wicketkeeping he needs to work at and that's why we made that decision.

"It's a double factor, wicketkeeping is crucial and so is the ability to score runs. I'm sure Matt will be back."

Graveney admitted he has been unable to speak to Prior to inform him of the decision.

"I speak to players that have been left out," he added.

"In this instance I have been unable to contact Matt Prior. I have been working closely with his agent, Alec Stewart, but I regret sincerely that that phone call hasn't been made.

"When I speak to him I'll tell him why we made the decision."

Graveney also praised the hard work Strauss has put after missing out on the series against Sri Lanka.

"The decision about changing the batting order was difficult," he said.

"We felt Andrew needed a bit of a break and he's worked very hard on his game."

England squad: M Vaughan (capt), A Strauss, A Cook, I Bell, K Pietersen, O Shah, P Collingwood, P Mustard, T Ambrose, J Anderson, S Broad, S Harmison, M Hoggard, M Panesar, R Sidebottom, G Swann.
 
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