Hoggard ruled out of second Test
Matthew Hoggard will not be available for England's second Test against New Zealand at Old Trafford after breaking his thumb in Yorkshire's Championship match against Durham on Friday.
Hoggard was dropped after the first Test against New Zealand in the winter, alongside Steve Harmison, and it was Harmison who broke his thumb yesterday during a hostile spell in which he took 3 for 39 in Durham's thumping 295-run win.
Hoggard has begun the season promisingly for Yorkshire with 12 Championship wickets and a best of 6 for 57. Although the green and seaming conditions of Lord's would have suited him over the past few days, England chose to stick with their young attack - the same which turned around their fortunes so impressively during the tour of New Zealand. Hoggard travelled north to join the Championship game after he was omitted, claiming two wickets before the injury struck towards the end of the match.
"It's a major disappointment to me to get injured at this stage of the season especially as I feel that I have been bowling well for Yorkshire in county cricket," Hoggard said. "I am really determined to try and win back my place with England so I am hoping that the injury is not too serious and that I can get back on the field with Yorkshire as soon as the fracture has mended."
With Chris Tremlett also injured - he suffered from back spasms yesterday and was unable to take the field against Surrey - England must decide who to call-up to their squad for the second Test next week. Ironically, it could well be Harmison who has 24 wickets at just 19.83 at the ground and destroyed Pakistan two years ago with 6 for 19.
England's coach, Peter Moores, refused to be drawn on the deliberations, but hinted that Harmison's name would be in the frame. "He's a senior England player, he's been on the tour in the winter, and he's playing county cricket. He's in contention like everyone else," said Moores. "We have to look at what options we've got for Old Trafford, but we'll make our decision once I've sat down with Geoff [Miller], and he has spoken with the other selectors, and obviously Michael [Vaughan]."
Harmison's Durham team-mate, Graham Onions, has also been on the verge of a call-up for two seasons and has also been in impressive form this summer, with 13 wickets at 14.15. But for the moment, Moores was more interested in Hoggard's long-term fitness. "It's really frustrating for him because he's done everything right," he said. "How bad the break is we don't know, but it looks pretty certain to rule him out of the Old Trafford Test. We just hope it's not a bad break and he can get back up."
In days gone by, Hoggard would not have been playing in the match in which he suffered his injury. The teenager Ben Sanderson made his first-class debut on the opening day of the game, only to make way for Hoggard after he had been ruled out of the Test. Moores, however, defended the merit of this policy, and recalled how beneficial it had been for James Anderson last summer.
"What you're trying to do is have common sense on the day," said Moores. "Jimmy last summer, he went and played a couple of times for Lancashire, and in many ways that kept him in rhythm and allowed him to play instead of being carried round the country. Then he came in against India [and Lord's] and took five wickets. It worked positively for him."