Mumbai A v England XI, tour match, Mumbai November 2, 2012

Cook, Prior rested for second outing


Alastair Cook will be rested for England's second tour match against Mumbai A on Saturday with Stuart Broad, named England vice-captain last week, leading the side in his first appearance on the tour of India.

Graeme Swann and Matt Prior will also also rested, with Jonny Bairstow taking over as wicketkeeper having passed a fitness test. Steven Finn was already ruled out with a thigh injury with Graham Onions likely to replace him.

The absence of Cook, who scored 119 in the draw with India A, will give Joe Root the opportunity to open the innings with Nick Compton, presenting the potential of a head-to-head for a spot in the first Test on November 15.

Compton was picked ahead of Root for the opening match of the tour at the Brabourne Stadium but made a third ball duck. He may be the preferred partner for Cook in the opening Test but needs to prove his form to secure his place in Ahmedabad.

"With Ian Bell going home for the birth of his first child, we've got to make sure that the batter who's going to come in for the second Test gets some practice in," Cook, who was satisfied with a "really good first week" on Indian soil, said. "We're trying to give everyone as much game time as we can. That is the idea of these next two games, to make sure we get as many people as possible some practice."

Wicketkeeper Prior is the other player set to be rested for the match at the DY Patil Sports Academy, with Bairstow, the other keeper in the squad, replacing him. Bairstow picked up a thigh injury but passed a fitness test allowing Prior to rest ahead of the first Test.

England's other confirmed change is out of necessity. Finn will not take part having left the field on the first morning of the draw with India A with a thigh strain. A scan revealed his injury is not serious but his place in Ahmedabad will be in doubt if he does not recover in time for England's final warm up match, a four-day fixture against Haryana.

Finn's injury potentially leaves a spot available in England's preferred three-man pace attack. Onions will stake his claim by replacing Finn with Broad's inclusion allowing James Anderson, who sent down 24.1 overs in the opening match, to rest.

Onions returned from what was once considered a career-threatening back injury in 2010 to make his England comeback in the third Test against West Indies at Edgbaston in June. He will hope to stake a claim for inclusion in the first Test should Finn not recover. Tim Bresnan, who took four wickets and scored 33 not out, will also be in contention to replace Finn in the first Test.

Finn's injury, and the pitch in Ahmedabad, may also require England to consider the balance of their side. "Clearly balance is going to be very important," Cook said. "We're going to have to be able to adapt to whatever surface we're going to play on. Whether we play two spinners or three seamers, we're going to have to try and find the best balance, which we feel will give us the best chance of winning. We've got to be flexible in selection."

England are likely to utilise Samit Patel at No. 6, his century in the opening match confirming his value. His left-arm spin will compliment specialist spinner Swann, who will enter the first Test one wicket short of Jim Laker's tally of 193 wickets - the most by an England offspinner.

"There's always pressure on the spinner when you play in India, because people assume all the wickets will be big turners," Swann said. "You've just got to deal with that in your own way, because we know that a lot of the Test wickets over here are exceptional batting surfaces - at least to start, and then turn later on.

"It's not a lot different to other places. Often in the first innings you have to take a more defensive role and support the seamers a bit more and then later on in the game, if there is turn and bounce, then of course you come into your own. It's a pressure that's not alien to a spin bowler; if you're not used to that, you shouldn't really be bowling spin."

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on November 4, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    @John H Chambers on (November 04 2012, 06:37 AM GMT) Yeah , I was meant to mention about that myself. Having just got back into the side after all the probs it seems strange to omit him after 1 inns which was not particularly convincing.

  • Roo on November 4, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    @JG2704 :- "Is it a case of great minds thinking alike here or fools seldom differing?"... If I was an American I'd plead the 5th amendment - lol... But maybe your selectors are thinking that by putting Broad into a senior position he will take more seriously his role within the team?... It is probably why Watson is the Oz VC as he & Clarke are the same age & CA are just waiting for one of the younger guys to come through & stand up in 3-4 years time... Also Cook & Broad are only 18 months apart, so I don't think he will have any long term role as the England captain - Cook could easily play Tests for another 6-8 years...

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Why no mention of PIETERSEN's being rested????

  • Sharon on November 3, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    @Nampally - what are you talking about "Last time England was in India under KP they lost 5-0 & last year under Strauss they lost by the same margin...." Strauss wasn't even on the ODI tour to India last year because he had retired from ODI. And how could KP lose the test series 5-0 when there were ONLY TWO test match...??? What is this thing about constantly mixing up test match and ODI. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Last year on the England ODI tour to India England test regular such as Anderson, Broad, Strauss, Prior WERE NOT double underline double repeat NOT on the ODI tour, so to attempt to compare the performance of that ODI team to the regular England test team is just yet another mark of utter desperation. Good luck with it. And BTW @Nampally - you never did manage to explain to me that other constant excuse about India injury in England last year? Are you really telling me that Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni, Gambir, Sewhag... were actually replacement? If so - then for whom - ?

  • John on November 3, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (November 03 2012, 02:19 AM GMT) Is it a case of great minds thinking alike here or fools seldom differing?

  • John on November 3, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    @Nampally on (November 02 2012, 21:15 PM GMT) Funny how you only ever notice the England fans who sledge ? I wonder if you'll ever be brave enough to tell some of your own guys to cool it. @GerrardLK on (November 02 2012, 17:08 PM GMT) Pretty pointless getting carried away at this stage.

  • John on November 3, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    @Ronita on (November 03 2012, 00:30 AM GMT) Monty is being given a chance in this game

  • John on November 3, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    @markatnotts on (November 03 2012, 12:18 PM GMT) I guess the guy has a sense of humour as indicated with the user name.

  • John on November 3, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    @reality_check27 on (November 03 2012, 11:30 AM GMT) re "please check te stats and see england home record its the most poor record that any team can have at home apart from Bangladesh" - England went unbeaten from 2007-2012 at home so I guess we'll have to take your word for it that we are worse at home than all those other nations. Or maybe not.

  • Mathew on November 3, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    Eng to win the series 4-0 (again). Ind being at home (again, now and forever) might not lose 3 by an innings this time, only 2. Ind fans what do Eng have to fear exactly? Pensioners armed with the bat or your much vaunted bowling unit? Or is it your reknown expertise in the field. Pffft. Ind again to do us a favor by putting us back on top of the world.

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