Mathew Hoggard hands England new problem

Published: Sunday, July 9, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

More images
Canterbury:Jamie Dalrymple and Matthew Hoggard gave the England selectors some contrasting problems just when they were finalizing a squad due to be announced later Sunday for next week's first Test against Pakistan.

Hoggard was the victim of an extraordinary injury when Yorkshire colleague Tim Bresnan trod on his county teammate's bowling hand during a warm-up before the third day's play of the ongoing four-day match between England 'A' and Pakistan at Canterbury here Saturday.

The 29-year-old Ashes-winning right-arm swing specialist had to have six stitches inserted into his hand and took no part in the third day's play.

Hoggard, an ever-present for 32 consecutive Tests since March 2004 in the West Indies, is now doubtful for Thursday's start at Lord's of a four-Test series.

With the likes of fellow quicks Andrew Flintoff (ankle) and Simon Jones (knee) already ruled out, his injury was the last thing England needed.

Nevertheless, an upbeat Hoggard insisted after returning from hospital: "The hand feels a bit numb but the cuts are superficial and I'm reasonably confident I'll be fit for Thursday.

"I haven't held a cricket ball since as my hand has been heavily strapped. But I've not missed an England Test for a long time and I don't want to start at Lord's."

Despite Hoggard's absence Pakistan were effectively spun out for just 242 in reply to England 'A's imposing 595 for nine.

England 'A' captain Robert Key, a first innings centurion but dismissed before the close second time around for just 17, opted against enforcing the follow-on and at stumps his team were 35 for one, a lead of 388.

Dalrymple led England 'A's attack with four for 61, including the prize wicket of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq for nought, while fellow off-spinner Alex Loudon took three for 28.

Middlesex slow bowler Dalrymple was one of the few shining lights for England during their recent 5-0 One-day series thrashing by Sri Lanka and, while his efforts here may have come too late for him to make a Test debut on his Lord's home ground, he once again did his prospects no harm.

"The NatWest Series helped me out. Bowling to good players of spin on flattish pitches and doing all right has to help your belief," added Dalrymple, whose career has been hampered by two bouts of shoulder surgery in the past three years.

"There is nothing more I can do about selection other than keep performing. It is always nice to do well in these kind of games."

Meanwhile Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, returning to the ground where he played for Kent during the 1970s and 1980s, was decidely unimpressed by Key's decision to bat on when play resumed Saturday even though England 'A' had already scored 530 for nine.

And the former England batsman said the 173 overs his team had spent in the field during the home team's first innings contributed to some slipshod batting later on the third day.

"It was disappointing in one respect but understandable in another, given that there were a couple of injuries and there is a Test match coming up," Woolmer said.

"England A's tactics of going on and on and on had an effect but hopefully we will be able to counter that tomorrow (Sunday)."

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif had an injection in his right elbow and will take no further part in this match in a bid to get him fit in time for Lord's, while first-choice gloveman Kamran Akmal again didn't keep wicket as a precaution after bruising his left index finger on Thursday's first morning.

Write Comments