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November 22, 2008
Ryan Sidebottom, the England fast bowler, has been ruled out of the remaining four matches of the one-day series against India with a side strain. Sidebottom has been afflicted by injury for much of 2008, sustaining an Achilles injury during England's Stanford Super Series in Antigua before a long-standing side strain re-emerged at the start of this series.
England sent him for a scan earlier in the week whose results, though inconclusive, were not encouraging, but this latest diagnosis has confirmed a tear on his right side. The England Performance Squad arrived in Bangalore today, and Sidebottom will remain with the group in a bid to be fit for the forthcoming two-Test series which follows the ODIs. The first Test in Ahmedabad gets underway on December 11, which doesn't leave him with much time in which to regain fitness.
Sidebottom spearheaded England's attack for a year, surprising many with his consistent pace and aggressive line. However, he struggled in the home series against South Africa in the summer, and there were indications that his first year as a fully-fledged Test cricketer had begun to take its toll on his body. Despite this latest setback, Peter Moores insists that Sidebottom can return to his world-beating best.
"We know fast bowlers can pick up niggles," Moores told PA. "We've had Andrew Flintoff missing for 18 months and he's come back, so we know it happens. We also know that people who play international cricket, they have a never-ending schedule because it's a 12-month cycle and they have to get used to that.
"Ryan's given everything for 12-18 months, picked up those niggles and hopefully we can get him fit, strong and his body in the right shape to then carry on playing without injury for a decent period of time," he said. "If anything we'll get more (from him) because he's training very hard to be able to bowl," explained Moores.
"We know Ryan's got great control, swings it both ways and as an experienced bowler he has got the skills that you need. We also know he operates at his best when he's above 82-83mph and I think he'll be able to do that without a problem."
It is likely England will delve into their Performance Programme squad to find a replacement, with contenders such as Saj Mahmood, Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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