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March 4, 2010
Ryan Sidebottom is set to fly home from the England tour of Bangladesh, after failing to recover from a thigh injury, and he could yet be joined on the plane by Stuart Broad and Graham Onions, both of whom are being sent for MRI scans on their lower back, as the England camp was hit by a wave of injuries ahead of the third ODI in Chittagong.
Sidebottom produced an off-colour performance in the first ODI in Dhaka, before being replaced by the spinner James Tredwell for the second, having aggravated a thigh injury he sustained after landing on the boundary rope during the opening Twenty20 in Dubai last month. He will be replaced in the Test squad by the Yorkshire paceman, Tim Bresnan, who took the new ball in Sidebottom's absence on Tuesday.
For Sidebottom this is the latest in a long line of injuries which have hampered him since his peak in early 2008 when he was England's leading bowler. He was first struck down with an Achilles problem later that summer against South Africa before picking up a side strain in India. He then played against West Indies, in Barbados, when he was clearly unfit before recovering to be selected for the World Twenty20 last year. On England's recent tour in South Africa he also picked up a side strain while with the performance squad, but was recalled for the final Test in Johannesburg.
Arguably, though, it is Broad's condition that is causing the management the greatest concern, given how integral he has become to England's teams in all three forms of the game. He could barely walk when he arrived in the team hotel after a delayed flight from Dhaka on Wednesday evening, and England's coach Andy Flower, confirmed he had injured the facet joint in his lower back.
"There has been a lot happening at the moment, Flower said. "Sidebottom has pulled a side muscle and will be going home on Saturday after the one-dayers have finished. He won't be fit for the Test matches so he has to go home.
"We also have concerns over Broad and Onions. Broad injured something in his back in the last ODI and Onions is also struggling with something in his back. Both of them are having MRI scans tomorrow and we will know more about their results tomorrow afternoon."
Although neither Broad nor Onions has yet been ruled out of the forthcoming Test series, which gets underway on March 12, England have already taken precautions by calling the Middlesex and Lions seamer, Steven Finn, into the squad for the remainder of the tour. England were already without their leading quick, James Anderson, who was rested from this tour due to his ongoing knee problem.
"I am delighted to be given such a fantastic opportunity," Finn said. "To be called up to the full England side is a real honour for me, and I am really excited to be joining up with squad over in Bangladesh.
"Whether I get to play any matches over there remains to be seen, however the opportunity alone to train with the squad and impress in front of the coaching team is a fantastic enough experience for me. Whilst I am coming in as cover for the bowling unit, I intend to work as hard as I can and enjoy the experience of being around the England squad and coaching staff."
Finn caught the eye of Flower during the same net session where Ajmal Shahzad was spotted when the performance squad trained with the full team in Pretoria before Christmas. Shahzad made his debut in the second Twenty20 against Pakistan, in Dubai, taking two wickets in his first over and will contest the vacant slot for the final ODI on Friday with Liam Plunkett.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.Feeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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