England paceman targets Roses clash for return August 2, 2007

Hoggard likely to miss third Test against India

Cricinfo staff



England have not suffered much due to Matthew Hoggard's absence in the Tests against India, thanks to the impressive performance of the others © Getty Images

Matthew Hoggard is likely to miss the third Test against India, as he is aiming to play in Yorkshire's County Championship match against Lancashire, starting on August 9 - the day the third Test commences at The Oval.

Hoggard, who missed the first two Tests due to a back spasm, does not have an opportunity to prove his fitness in a county game before the Oval Test.

"If everything goes to plan, Matthew [Hoggard] will play league cricket on Saturday and then for Yorkshire against Lancashire next week," Scott McAllister, Yorkshire's physiotherapist, told the Yorkshire Post. "He has bowled short spells outdoors at Headingley during the last two days, but is not yet operating at maximum tilt.

"We allowed him one over yesterday off his long run-up, but Matthew has mostly been coming in off a short run and will only step things up over the next few days.

But McAllister indicated that the team were being cautious over Hoggard's return. "It's important that we monitor him carefully for any adverse reaction because with this type of injury you have to be sensible," he said. "It's early days in the process, but he's coming along well, and there's still another week for him to prove his fitness ahead of the Roses game. But if Matthew is not quite ready for that match and needs a bit more time, he will get that time. There is no question whatsoever of him being rushed back too soon."

Hoggard has now missed five of England's last seven Tests, with the team missing out on the services of all four pace bowlers - Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff - who played a role in the 2005 Ashes triumph at home.

"The spasm is somewhere at the base of my back just above the pelvis," Hoggard said about the injury. "I felt a twinge there when I was playing for Yorkshire in the Roses match at Old Trafford."

Hoggard's absence, however, might come as a relief for the England selectors, since the trio of James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom and Chris Tremlett have performed well in the ongoing Test series. Perhaps, the only reason why England might consider Hoggard would be because of his batting, since the bowling line-up at present - the three pacemen along with Monty Panesar - consists of four No. 11s.

Yorkshire could benefit from Hoggard's presence in their line-up, especially after Jason Gillespie, their overseas player, was asked to report for a training camp in Australia.