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October 14, 2001
Former England captain Alec Stewart has revealed another reason for making himself unavailable for England's winter tour to India.
38 year-old Stewart, who has been playing an important role as a middle-order batsman as well as keeping wicket right up until the final Ashes Test of last summer, has made it known that he has been suffering from a complaint affecting both elbows for the last eighteen months and has only been able to continue playing with the help of intensive medical treatment.
"The problem is a form of chronic tennis elbow which is affecting both my arms" said Stewart. "For the last eighteen months have only been able to play cricket thanks to a course of injections and intense physiotherapy. Now I want to try and get it sorted out."
Stewart will have the operations at the end of October and will then spend two weeks with both arms in plaster. A rehabilitation course should see Stewart available for selection in the New Year.
The England management did state that players could not pick and chose tours this winter and when Stewart said that he needed a rest and withdrew from the Indian leg of the itinerary, he was not selected to go to New Zealand.
Warren Hegg and James Foster have been selected as the two wicket-keepers to go on both these trips, but should injury intervene between now and the end of the Indian expedition, it would be interesting to see whether they might turn again to a Stewart restored to full fitness.
The other interesting aspect of this announcement is whether Stewart informed the selectors of his problem before the touring parties were chosen, or whether he has decided that this first break in almost continuous cricket for a number of years is a good time to have the necessary treatment. Otherwise, it is conceivable that he could have had the operations immediately after the Oval Test and still have been fit to travel to India.
Stewart made his Test debut for England in the first match of the 1989/90 series against the West Indies, since when he has played in a total of 115 Tests averaging just a fraction under 40 with the bat, has recorded 14 centuries and has made 231 dismissals. He has also played in 146 one-day internationals.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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