Pakistan v England 2011-12 January 10, 2012

England assess bowling options

England face an important few days as they try to formulate their bowling attack for the first Test against Pakistan following the loss of Tim Bresnan. He flew home on Tuesday having been ruled out of action until at least the one-day series while there are lingering problems with other members of the squad.

Graeme Swann, the offspinner, is due to go for a scan on a leg problem that kept him off the field on the final morning against the ICC Combined XI but Andrew Strauss said he wasn't overly concerned. Chris Tremlett is still struggling with the eye infection he picked up during the early days of the tour.

Graham Onions, the Durham paceman, has now been made an official member of the squad and could play in the final warm-up match against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI so that Strauss and Andy Flower have options available to them for the first Test next week. If Swann isn't risked ahead of the series it would also allow Monty Panesar an outing.

Onions was back involved with England squads towards the end of the last season but hasn't featured in a full international since January 2010 against South Africa after which he suffered a career-threatening back injury that required surgery.

"I wouldn't say when I was playing I took it for granted. But you turn up and have the ball in your hand and then all of a sudden, as happened to me in Bangladesh, you get injured," he told reporters in Dubai. "That's quite hard to take. But I'm here now and I want to make a difference as part of this team. They weren't number one when I was playing. I want to be part of that side."

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are certainties for the first Test barring any late injury problems so Onions is in contention for the third fast-bowling spot along with Tremlett and Steven Finn. Finn bowled 27 overs against the ICC XI and took three wickets as he tries to return to the Test side for the first time since the second Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's. Tremlett was the man in possession at the start of the India series before injury allowed Bresnan his opportunity.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo