x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

England's Steven Finn losing fitness battle to feature against India

Steven Finn's hopes of shaking off his thigh injury and featuring for England in the opening Test against India this week are fading after missing net practice.

England's Steven Finn practices in the nets on November 11 while his teammates were playing Haryana.
England's Steven Finn practices in the nets on November 11 while his teammates were playing Haryana.

Steven Finn looks set to lose his fitness fight to face India in the first Test this week, after taking no part in England net practice.

With less than 48 hours to go to the start of the series at the Sarwar Patel Stadium, England's gamble on Stuart Broad's sore heel looks to have paid off - but not on his fellow seamer's strained thigh.

England coaches had hoped for both Finn and Broad to bowl in the nets this morning, having done so two days ago while their teammates were playing their final warm-up match against Haryana.

But only Broad practised as scheduled, bowling six overs off his full run - in two spells.

Should Finn miss out, Tim Bresnan is the obvious candidate to complete England's pace attack, alongside Broad and James Anderson.

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior later agreed that Finn's chances of recovering sufficiently from the thigh strain he suffered two weeks ago might have receded.

"The one thing you would say is, if there was a realistic chance of Finny playing, then he probably would have had a long bowl today," said Prior.

He was more equivocal thereafter, but it nonetheless seems probable that England feel unable to risk the match fitness of two fast bowlers in a three-man pace attack and have decided Broad is their best bet.

"We'll see how he comes in tomorrow - they might be saving it," Prior added of Finn.

"With an injury like this, every day counts.

"He looks good, feels good; it's coming along brilliantly. So we'll just have to wait and see."

If Finn has run out of time, Prior concedes the situation is not ideal - but he is confident England have the resources to cover the tall fast bowler's absence.

"It's a setback. I'm sure coach and captain would want to be able to choose from every player that's out here.

"But we have a lot of strength and depth in the squad. It's one thing that's made our squad so strong over the last couple of years.

"If Finny's not available, there's another guy that can step in and do as good a job - that's the way we look at it."


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