Despite taking 9 for 93 in the Chittagong Test, Richard Johnson is unlikely to be retained in the England squad for next month's Test series in Sri Lanka. Johnson was a late replacement for the injured James Anderson, and with Anderson now fit, Johnson will almost certainly miss out.
Johnson's performance against Bangladesh won him the Man of the Match award, his second in only his second Test, and left him with a record of 15 wickets at 12.86. But to put this into context, his two matches have been against the weakest sides in international cricket, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
"At this stage we've picked the seamers so it will have to stay at that," said Duncan Fletcher, England's coach. While the remark didn't slam the door on Johnson, it ruled out any thoughts that his performance might have done enough to see him added to the tour party. "It must be frustrating for him," Fletcher added. "He should have played for England some time ago but injuries keep cropping up."
But while injury has limited his own chances, it might offer him his best opportunity for a return to colours. Stephen Harmison flew home last Friday from Bangladesh after sustaining a back injury, and his position will be assessed in the coming week. However, Harmison remained upbeat that he would be fit to return.
"I'm confident I'll be in Sri Lanka," he said. "I'll be trying everything to get there and it's just a case of seeking advice in England. I hope the medical people in England can tell me what my back problem is, and then say how to put it right," he added. "[Hopefully] they'll say, 'You'll be OK' and I'll get the green light to go to Sri Lanka when the rest of the boys go."
But if Harmison is ruled out, then Johnson might well be kept on after the one-day series. "I'm not contracted for the Sri Lanka part, so I'll play the one-dayers." Johnson told the BBC. "If I get the news I'm going home, I'll go home, keep fit and then try to force my way on the West Indies tour."