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November 4, 2012
England's fast-bowling stocks have taken another hit with the news that Stuart Broad required a scan on his left heel at the close of the second day against Mumbai A. England have already sent for Stuart Meaker as cover for Steven Finn, who strained his thigh in the first warm-up match, and they now have concerns over Broad, their vice-captain and opening bowler.
Broad went wicketless on a tough day in the field for the England XI. He managed to get through ten overs in his first appearance of the India tour but did not bowl after tea. Results of the scan are not expected until Monday but, with the first Test due to start in 11 days' time, the news came as a further headache to Alastair Cook in his first series as England's official Test captain.
A statement from the ECB said: "Stuart felt discomfort late on in today's play and has gone for a scan."
Broad was rested for England's opening warm-up fixture against India A before deputising for Cook in this match. It is understood the team management were keen to leave him out of the four-day match against Haryana, beginning on November 8, which is England's final game before of the first Test in Ahmedabad, raising questions about his fitness for the series.
One of the few England players to feature in all three formats, Broad's workload has been managed throughout the year. His last England appearance came a month ago at the World Twenty20, where he captained the side in five matches, and in the run-up to the tournament he was give the ODI series against South Africa off. He also missed the second Test in Sri Lanka in April with an calf strain and was rested for the West Indies Test at Edgbaston, with England already 2-0 up in the three-match series.
Meaker, the Surrey seamer, is currently still waiting to receive his visa before flying out to India. Although Finn carried out 12th-man duties in Mumbai, jogging on and off with drinks, he is not expected to be fit for the Haryana game and is a major doubt for the first Test. Graham Onions, who made his first England appearance in two years in the third Test against West Indies during the summer, took 1 for 34 against Mumbai A as the bowlers were given a taste of the toil that may await them over four Tests against India.
If England's pace options are restricted by injury, they may be more inclined to play a second specialist spinner alongside Graeme Swann. Monty Panesar saw Cheteshwar Pujara dropped off his bowling at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium and the India batsman added another 65 runs to his score before England's left-armer finally removed him but Panesar remained upbeat.
"I think the boys really showed a good effort out there," he said. "[Mumbai A] obviously played well but we didn't make it easy for them either. We tried to go through most of our options, trying to get the seamers involved, keeping the ball dry, getting it to reverse from one end and trying to apply pressure from the other end and I thought as a unit the guys did well today."
The case for two spinners is not the strongest, as England have played seven Tests with Swann and Panesar in the same side and won none of them. However, Panesar said it would be remiss of him not to be prepared for duty.
"These warm-up games are an opportunity to make sure I keep myself ready. I've got to make sure I get my overs in, that I bowl well and go through all my options to get a wicket," he said. "It's up to the selectors to decide what they want to do but I think it's my responsibility to make sure that I'm in a good place and my game's going well."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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