Finn out of second Test
Steven Finn has been ruled out of England’s second Test against India due to a thigh injury.
Team director Andy Flower revealed that the Middlesex paceman faces a second scan tomorrow after aggravating the initial problem.
If that shows no further troubles, he will be considered for an England Performance Programme match - with a view to returning in time for the final two Tests in Kolkata and Nagpur.
“Steven has been working hard to get back to full fitness,” said the coach. “He has unfortunately hurt his leg again, a couple of days ago, and is having another scan tomorrow.
“We don’t think he’s got any structural damage, but it would be careless to suggest that he might play the second Test.”
England will tread carefully with Finn, but remain optimistic.
“What we might do is send him off to the performance programme that arrived in India earlier this morning,” added Flower.
“They’ve got a three-day game starting on the 27th. If he’s ready for that, which is the last day of the second Test, we’ll put him through his paces in that.
“If he comes through that well, he’ll be available for the third and fourth Tests.”
Finn’s extra pace and bounce are assets which served England well in their disappointing one-day international tour in India last autumn.
“His last real cricket out here in India was during the one-day series about a year ago, and he bowled superbly,” said Flower. “That extra pace would certainly assist us. But that’s not to be (for now), so let’s hope he gets fit and ready for that third Test.”
Flower is now left to focus on helping England get back into the four-Test series in Mumbai, after they suffered a nine-wicket in the opening encounter at Ahmedabad.
“It’s disappointing to lose, and I think we’re all well aware that if you go one down in India it is a tough fightback,” he said. “But that’s what we’re here to do. We’ve still got three games to go.”
Flower and new captain Alastair Cook face the task of reviving the tourists in alien conditions that proved their undoing last time out.
Cook’s heroic 176 could not make up for a disappointing first-innings performance, but Flower is hoping England can draw some inspiration from their efforts in similar climes to draw 1-1 in Sri Lanka eight months ago.
“We did the same in Sri Lanka, and had some success in the second Test match,” he added. “That’s what we’ll be looking for here in Mumbai.
“It is a serious challenge for us. But as Cook and (Matt) Prior especially showed, it can be done; it can be overcome.
“We need our middle order to fire, some of our experienced batsmen to bring that experience to bear in the middle - not in training, but in the middle. That’s what we expect.”
England, meanwhile, also need to find a way to claim 20 wickets and stop India putting up a commanding first-innings score, as they did in Ahmedabad.
It has been suggested in some quarters that left-arm spinner Monty Panesar may come into the XI, but Flower insists conditions will be assessed before any decision is made.
“Monty Panesar, of course, has a chance to play,” he admitted. “We might well go with two spinners, but we’ll judge that when we actually see the conditions.”
England will be without Ian Bell as they bid to bounce back from their first Test defeat in Ahmedabad as he has already returned home for the birth of his first child, Joseph William.
Bell’s wife Chantal gave birth yesterday, shortly before the batsman arrived back in England despite leaving the first Test early once it became clear his son was on the way.