India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai November 22, 2012

Broad in Mumbai Test scare

England's hopes of fighting their way back into the series against India have been dealt another blow by the news that a throat ailment left Stuart Broad unable to train less than 24 hours ahead of the second Test in Mumbai.

Broad, who was described by an ECB spokesman as "under the weather", remained in the hotel and did not join his team-mates at training. His absence casts a serious doubt over his fitness for the game. England lost the first Test in Ahmedabad by nine wickets.

Ian Botham, a former England captain, had been among those to call for Broad to be dropped in Mumbai after a poor showing in the first Test, where he was out-bowled by both India seamers, Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadev. He looked to have lost some pace and, as a consequence, lacked the potency to strike on pitches offering little. Since June, his bowling average is 48.54 and his batting average is 14.

England are already without Ian Bell, who has returned to England on paternity leave, and Steven Finn, who has a thigh injury. They were at least given some encouraging news when scans showed no serious injury to Finn. He will, as a consequence, remain in India and hopes to participate in the England Performance Programme squad's three-day game starting on November 27.

Broad's possible absence could well mean an opportunity for the uncapped Stuart Meaker, the 23-year-old Surrey quick, who was called into the squad only after Finn suffered injury in the first warm-up game, and who has impressed in training and in the warm-up game against Haryana.

Tim Bresnan played in the first Test but looked some way below his best, while Graham Onions has also struggled for rhythm on the tour. Meaker, with his extra pace and ability to swing the ball, could well find himself promoted if Broad does not fully recover.

Broad was also a doubt for the first Test after suffering a heel injury. While the England team management insisted his illness was not serious and that he remains in contention for the match, it must be considered a risk to select him for a game in which England may well field only two seamers.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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