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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • The_bowlers_Holding on November 23, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    I think this would be a blessing in disguise but somehow think SCJB will make a recovery and be selected, he has seemed jaded for sometime now. In fairness Onions should get a shout but Meaker would seem to offer the raw pace that might prove vital. Bairstow for Bell and Monty for Bres and lets see where we are. Hopefully England will put a high price on their wickets and not play silly shots and make it easier, here's to a good tight 5 day test, with the better team winning (as long as it is not India).

  • dummy4fb on November 23, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    where is chris tremlett i thought hes a good bowler they should give him a shot

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 22, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    I'm not surprised at all. Could see this excuse coming. Looks like he took the correct decision in excusing himself from further ignominy. His pace dropped significantly from the last time we toured England. Some injury he is hiding???

  • citizenkc on November 22, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    This may well be a blessing in disguise. Broad is out of form and some fresh blood in the form of Meaker or Onions may be the medicine. Prior could hold his place in the team for his batting alone, so drop Patel and pick Panesar, and Bairstow or Morgan for Bell. On a related note, I think the Test number one spot has become a curse. First India, then England, and now South Africa are having a horrible time after reaching the top. Shows the difference between real number 1s (Aus and WI) and the fly by nights no.1. After the massacre at Adelaide, maybe India fans will feel a little better. If Steyn and Morkel are being treated like club cricketers, what chance did India have last year? If England can't do some serious rebuilding, Australia are on track to regain the Ashes next summer!

  • mikey76 on November 22, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    Go in with Meaker. His pace and swing could unsettle the Indian top order. He's no mug with the bat either which is important considering we have a long tail now. I think England should now look at Woakes for the tour of NZ after Christmas. Bresnan needs to go back to Yorks and discover his nip again.

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    "Under the weather", indeed! Under "beefy thunders" and "Cookie Clouds" !

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Smart cookie! Not Captain Cook; I mean Broad. He seems to have read the writing on the wall, just in time!

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Second bad news for India, in a week, in the pace department. First, their best pacer, Yadav, is injured. Second, an English pacer in poor form, Broad, is going to be replaced by a better bowler. Double Whammy!

  • GHemrajani on November 22, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    So many English fans are asking for Broad to be dropped regardless of injury. That implies his performance has been sub-par for a long time. It intriques me that England management (Andy Flower) hasnt seen it yet. Perhaps it's time for Flower to go as well if he is not able to perform his selection job.

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Blessing in disguise for England. Onion can't be worse than Broad; in fact could be a better choice.

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