England in India, 2005-06 February 22, 2006

England's spinners laid low by stomach bug

Cricinfo staff

England's spin dilemma has been further complicated with the news that Ian Blackwell, Monty Panesar and Shaun Udal are all struggling with stomach upsets. The pitch for the first Test, at Nagpur, is expected to be prepared for the spinners with Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in mind.

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, said on Monday that the squad to face a President's Board XI on Thursday, for the second and final warm-up, will likely be the same team to play in the first Test. And after an encouraging display in England's first tour game at Mumbai on Monday, Simon Jones has also been laid low with the same stomach trouble. Paul Collingwood has been ruled out with a back injury.

"We will have to reassess the situation after today's practice session," a spokesman from the team said, "and we will name our team tomorrow morning."

Meanwhile, the Board XI have no such problems and will pair Munaf Patel and VRV Singh, two of India's fastest bowlers, against England.

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