Strauss taken aback by Bresnan blow
Captain Andrew Strauss admitted England's surprise at Tim Bresnan being ruled out of the Test series with Pakistan.
The all-rounder has failed to overcome an elbow injury and, after England’s tour match win over the ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI in Dubai today, it was announced Bresnan will return home.
Bresnan, who was unable to feature in England’s victory at the ICC’s Global Cricket Academy, underwent surgery on the problem in late November and was expected to be able to play a full part in proceedings in the United Arab Emirates.
Strauss explained that, after Bresnan attempted a few deliveries on the square as his team-mates prepared this morning, it became apparent his elbow was too painful for him to be considered for the three-Test series beginning on January 17.
Graham Onions, already with the squad as cover because of what were thought minor injury concerns hanging over Bresnan among others, has therefore been added to the tour party.
“Bresnan tried to bowl today, having had an injection and a good rest,” said Strauss.
“I think we were all expecting him to be absolutely fine. But it’s very painful - and given that, he’s probably not going to be able to play for two or three weeks. That means he’s unable to play any part in the Test series, so he’s flying home.”
Bresnan has therefore been denied the opportunity to extend his extraordinary record of winning each of his 10 Tests.
“He definitely is (a loss),” Strauss added. “He’s played a very full part in our victories over the last 12 months, both with the bat and the ball.
“We are all gutted for him, because it’s come from left-field and surprised him and us to a certain extent.”
However, with Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Onions on call to support new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Strauss is not panicking.
“I think we have strong bowling resources, so I think we have adequate cover for him,” he continued. “At the moment there is a degree of sadness for him personally that he is boarding that flight tomorrow.”
Strauss echoed Bresnan’s optimism that he may yet be back in time for four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals, starting on February 13.
He said: “I think generally it [Bresnan’s operation] has been successful, but you can never be 100% sure how people are going to react.
“There is something that is still painful there, and it is up to him to get that sorted out properly now, to have the rest and make sure he’s back for the ODI series.
“He’s had scans and injections but it hasn’t settled down yet. Our medical staff don’t think it’s going to be a particularly long-term problem.”
Also in the wars for England at present, to varying degrees, are Tremlett, Graeme Swann and Matt Prior.
Tremlett was unavailable against the ICC XI because of a sore eye and is to see the doctor tonight; wicketkeeper Prior will be fit for England’s next match against a Pakistan Cricket Board team from Wednesday, despite a bruised finger, and off-spinner Swann - who sat out most of today’s play with a tight upper leg muscle - is to have a precautionary scan but is expected to be fit, if required, for the second and final warm-up fixture.
As for the outcome today of a match in which England declared 96 runs behind on first innings, and successfully chased 261 with almost nine of a minimum 69 overs to spare - thanks largely to Strauss’ 78 - the winning captain said: “We’re delighted with how we came through and won the game, having been nearly 100 behind after the first innings.
“I thought there were some good performances in our side - Anderson and Broad, backed up by Finn - and the ICC XI played really well.
“Our batting in the first innings should have been better. We have to get in the right mindset to occupy the crease for long periods.
“There is plenty left to work on - we are not going to pretend it was perfect by any means - but we can raise it a level against the PCB.”