DUBAI // Graham Onions has moved a step closer to a return to Test cricket, nearly two years after suffering a career-threatening back injury, having been officially added to the England squad.
Tim Bresnan, the England fast bowler, will fly back to the UK after being ruled out of the Test series with Pakistan in the UAE due to an elbow injury.
Onions had been training with the squad at the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai since England arrived in the country last week, as cover for three England pace bowlers.
Stuart Broad recovered strongly from his shoulder injury, with seven wickets in the opening tour match.
Chris Tremlett is expected to play against the Pakistan Cricket Board XI, pending a doctor's appointment concerning his eye infection.
However, Bresnan was ruled out yesterday as he is still experiencing pain following the operation he had to remove bone fragments from his elbow in November.
England have an enviable store of fast bowlers, with Steven Finn and Onions now pressing for inclusion in the starting XI for the first Test match at Dubai Sports City, starting on January 17.
But Andrew Strauss, the captain, acknowledged that Bresnan's departure will still be keenly felt.
"He has played a very full part in our victories over the past 12 months or so, both with the bat and ball," said Strauss, who is hopeful of Bresnan returning in time for the limited-overs series, which begins in Abu Dhabi on February 13.
"He has always contributed and we are all gutted for him. It has come from left-field, and it has surprised him and us to a certain extent.
"We still have some strong bowling resources there, so I think we have adequate cover for him."