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England hit by Denly scare

NatWest Series

Mark Saxby, Tim Bresnan, Kirk Russell & Joe Denly

England players and staff rush to Joe Denly's aid during a football game that was part of England's warm-up today

England suffered an injury scare this morning when Joe Denly was carried off after hurting his left knee during a warm-up game of football.

The 23-year-old had to leave the Brit Oval outfield after an innocuous tackle from Owais Shah in the warm-up, which usually precedes the practice session.

The clash left Denly injured on the ground for 15 minutes before he was carried off by England physio Kirk Russell and head of security Reg Dickason.

An ECB spokesman confirmed the Kent opener is being assessed by Russell; an update on the injury is expected tomorrow, when he will see a specialist, following a scan this afternoon.

Denly was in line for his second one-day international cap tomorrow, following his debut against Ireland, and the England camp will keep their fingers crossed he is available to play some part in the seven-match NatWest Series.

“We are all very excited about having Joe in the squad,” said England captain Strauss.

“It looks like he has got the capability of playing all the shots you need at the top of the order and hopefully he will be able to play some part in the series.”

England head into the one-day series buoyed by the Ashes triumph and Strauss urged his players to use that success as inspiration as they look to improve their consistency in limited-overs cricket.

"When we have been good we have won our games but we have see-sawed between very good and very bad and that is something we need to address," he said.

"There is a great feeling in the camp. There is a real excitement about what those of us in the Test series achieved and from those who are coming in having watched it.

"We now have an extended period of one-day cricket to immerse ourselves in and we can use the feelgood factor from the Ashes to help propel us."

Strauss is likely to open the batting with Ravi Bopara, who has struggled form at international level since scoring back-to-back hundreds against West Indies early in the summer.

“Ravi has played some very good cricket for England this summer, both in the one-dayers and in Tests," said Strauss.

"He obviously had a tough time against Australia but it is important to keep things in perspective.

“International cricketers go in and out of form - we are not robots. I think he will really benefit from being able to go out an express himself in the first 10 overs of a one-day game.”

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