September 4, 2002

Irani released, Trescothick optimistic

Essex captain Ronnie Irani has been released from England's squad for the final Test against India at The AMP Oval.

Irani had reported at the ground yesterday saying he was fully fit for the Test following an operation on his right knee, but after a look at the pitch England have allowed him to return to Essex for their Frizzell County Championship match against Middlesex at Chelmsford.

Meanwhile Marcus Trescothick believes he is a likely starter in the Test, despite playing in just two one-day games since breaking his thumb in a C&G match at Taunton six weeks ago. Trescothick had a net session yesterday against a bowling machine delivering at up to 85mph.

"If I was pushed I would say I'm more likely to play than not," he said. "There were a couple of balls from Matthew Hoggard in Saturday's C&G Final which I felt, but it's been like that in nearly every net session.

"Once you get through the pain barrier it seems to be all right. It is a mental barrier for me to get over - it was a bad break and it's all a question of me getting over it because it's mainly a confidence thing.

"We cranked up the bowling machine at just short of a length because playing off the back foot is when it causes me the most problems, but the more I practice, the happier I feel about batting."