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England sweat on bowlers' fitness

AFP
Jun 04, 2013 at 07:59am IST

London: England may have to re-think their Champions Trophy plans if they find themselves without injured pace bowlers Stuart Broad and Steven Finn. The duo have yet to be ruled out of Wednesday's third and final one-day international against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, having missed the defeats at Lord's and Southampton.

After Sunday's 86-run humbling loss at Southampton, England captain Alastair Cook was unsure whether the two seamers would be fit for Saturday's Champions Trophy opener against Australia at Edgbaston.

England could also lose Tim Bresnan, due to leave the squad for the imminent birth of his first child and the likes of Chris Woakes and Jade Dernbach, whose 10 overs on Sunday cost 87 runs, struggling to contain New Zealand's batsmen, the team appear to be dangerously over-reliant on James Anderson and off-spinner Graeme Swann.

England sweat on bowlers' fitness

Stuart Broad and Steven Finn are doubtful for the third ODI after missing the last two games at Lord's and Southampton.

However, Cook dismissed talk of England being a limited ODI side in Broad and Finn's absence. "I think that would be doing a disservice to the other 13 guys in the squad," he said.

"Clearly, you take two premier bowlers out of anyone's side, and it's going to hurt the side. You might have to change the way you play. We might have just learnt that."

England have played the same side in both defeats against New Zealand, which saw them give up a four-year unbeaten record in home ODI series, and Cook conceded changes, which might see the likes of James Tredwell played as a second spinner, could take place in Nottingham.

"We haven't deserved to win these matches," said Cook. "It would make sense to have a look at our options. We've stuck with the same XI, and been outplayed."

By contrast, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, still waiting to find out if veteran spinner Daniel Vettori will be able to return from a longstanding Achilles injury, said going for a one-day series whitewash over England would trump the need to give squad players match time ahead of the Champions Trophy.

"I don't see a rotation of players. A 3-0 win would probably be as good as it gets," he said after two wins achieved on the back of hundreds by Martin Guptill, including the opener's national record 189 not out at Southampton,

"So we'll be doing whatever we can to continue the momentum we've built up - and our selections will reflect that."

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