x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

England's Stuart Broad unlikely for Twenty20 series in India

The Test vice captain, who was a doubt for the upcoming fourth Test in Nagpur, is being monitored after reporting a heel injury.

Stuart Broad is a doubt for England's Twenty20 series with India after being been sent for a scan following a recurrence of his heel injury.

England's T20 captain suffered more discomfort yesterday in the Nagpur nets, where the tourists are preparing for the final Test against India, which begins tomorrow, and he was sent away to have the problem examined.

England have two Twenty20 matches next week to round off their tour before Christmas. Eoin Morgan is the Twenty20 vice captain and would step in if Broad is considered unable to lead the side in the games on December 20 and December 22.

Broad, who first had a scan on the problem during England's second tour match, in Mumbai last month, went on to play in the first two Tests, failing to take a wicket in either game, and he was replaced for last week's third Test by Steven Finn, who took four wickets in the match.

The Test vice captain was highly unlikely in any case to take part this week, when Alastair Cook's team have the chance to become the first from England to win a series in India since 1984/85.

Much of the talk in the build-up to the match has been on the subject of the pitch, and India's need for a "result" surface to try to battle back from 2-1 down and claim a drawn series.

A spinners' benefit, as prevailed in the second Test in Mumbai, would run the risk - as far as the hosts are concerned - of once more playing into the hands of England's Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

The latter, who already has 56 Test wickets to his name this year, is refusing to be distracted by all the chatter about conditions at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.

"I've not seen the pitch yet. We'll just have to see what we're faced with," Swann said.

"It doesn't matter what you believe. The pitch will be the pitch, whatever happens on the first morning.

"It's normally a good pitch here, but we'll have to play on it whatever."

Graham Gooch, meanwhile, paid tribute to Cook's captaincy.

"He's only new to captaincy. He's had a good start," the England batting coach said.

"He's led this team really well. He's still learning as a captain, and he'll continue to develop. There'll be highs and lows along the way, but he'll take them equally and move forward.

"English cricket is lucky to have a player like him at the head of its team.

"He knows exactly what he wants and he knows how to go about it. He works very hard - and, generally, that's a winning combination."

Gooch added: "He's always been an impressive young man, mature beyond his years."

Meanwhile, India have replaced Manoj Tiwary with the uncapped Ambati Rayudu as a like-for-like batting replacement in their Twenty20 squad.

Tiwary suffered a side strain in a Ranji Trophy match. Tiwary will be out of action for six weeks.

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