Swann and Bresnan progress pleases Miller
Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan are bowling as well as they did before undergoing elbow surgery, according to national selector Geoff Miller.
Off-spinner Swann and seamer Bresnan were absent for March’s drawn Test series in New Zealand due to needing operations on their bowing arms, in both cases their right ones.
The experienced duo have returned to playing for their counties in recent weeks and Miller believes they are ready to step back up to international level next week in the first of two home Tests against the Black Caps.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk before England’s squad for the opening Test at Lord’s was revealed, Miller said: “They obviously had these problems and the operations have been a 100 per cent success, so we’re thrilled about that.
Referring first to Swann, Miller continued: “He’s fine. It’s like everything else; we’re monitoring him but he’s come through what he’s had to do after the operation and he’s performed with no reaction at all.
“And the same with Tim as well. Both have come through and they’re performing like they were before the operations. So we’re happy with about that.”
Swann and Bresnan’s return strengthens England, who were disappointed not to beat New Zealand in March.
“We certainly didn’t underestimate them,” Miller added. “We just didn’t play up to the quality that we know we’re capable of playing. We’ve got to make sure we do that this summer.”
England’s only injury absentee is Kevin Pietersen, who will miss the New Zealand Tests and June’s Champions Trophy with bruising to the bone in his right knee.
Jonny Bairstow, who hit 186 for Yorkshire versus Derbyshire in the LV= County Championship last month, continues to replace Pietersen in the middle-order having done likewise at Auckland in the third and final Test.
“He’s performed well for Yorkshire,” Miller continued. “He’s done well. We know what he’s capable of doing and he’s got the opportunity to do it again.
“If you’re missing a world-class player, as Kevin is, that’s slightly disappointing but we run with that, we accept that and we’ve also got world-class players playing in this match, of which Jon Bairstow is one of those.”
Should England keep with their Test formula of recent years, Bairstow will be one of six specialist batsmen ahead of Matt Prior at number seven.
That will leave captain Alastair Cook and team director Andy Flower to decide which one of the bowlers misses out at Lord’s, likely to be a seamer according to Miller.
“They’ll wait and see what the conditions are like,” he predicted. “The process has always been in the last years that we play six batsmen and Matt batting at seven, so if that is the case that will be the norm. There will be three seamers and the spinner.”