• England in India 2012-13

Broad a doubt for second Test

George Dobell
November 22, 2012

England's hopes of fighting back in the series against India have been dealt another blow by the news that Stuart Broad was unable to train less than 24 hours ahead of the second Test in Mumbai.

Broad, described by an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman as"under the weather", remained in the hotel and was not able to join his team-mates at training.

His absence casts a serious doubt over his fitness for the game. England lost the first Test in Ahmedabad by nine wickets.

Sir Ian Botham, a former England captain, had been among those to call for Broad to be dropped in Mumbai after a poor showing in the first Test.

Broad was out-bowled by both Indian seamers, Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadev, in Ahmedabad. He looked to have lost some pace and, as a consequence, lacked the potency to strike on pitches offering little. Since June, his bowling average is 48.54 and his batting average is 14.

England are already without Ian Bell, who has returned to England on paternity leave, and Steven Finn, who has a thigh injury. They were at least given some encouraging news when scans showed no serious injury to Finn. He will, as a consequence, remain in India and hopes to participate in the England Performance Programme squad's game starting on November 27.

Broad's possible absence could well mean an opportunity for the uncapped Stuart Meaker, the 23-year-old Surrey quick, who was called into the squad only after Finn suffered injury in the first warm-up game and who has impressed in training and in the warm-up game against Haryana.

Tim Bresnan played in the first Test but looked some way below his best, while Graham Onions has also struggled for rhythm on the tour. Meaker, with his extra pace and ability to swing the ball, could well find himself promoted.

Broad was also a doubt for the first Test after suffering a heel injury. While the England team management insisted his illness was not serious and that he remains in contention for the match, it must be considered a risk to select him for a game in which England may well field only two seamers.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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