ENGLAND’S winning start to their tour of the United Arab Emirates was overshadowed by the loss of lucky mascot Tim Bresnan.
While Steve Davies and Stuart Broad were busy taking England to a *three-wicket win over an ICC Associate XI, Bresnan’s tour was ending.
When Bresnan (right) plays Test cricket England win, it is as simple as that, but thanks to an elbow injury he flew home without adding to his 10 caps.
The all-rounder underwent surgery on his right elbow at the end of November to remove some floating bone fragments and he was hopeful of being fit for the start of the tour.
However, as soon as he tried to bowl with any real venom, the pain was too great and not even an injection could allow him to carry on with the trip.
England already have a ready-made bowling replacement in Graham Onions out here, but Bresnan was much more than just a bowler and his loss will be sorely felt. “We are all gutted for him,” said skipper Andrew Strauss.
“You never know how someone is going to react after an operation and there is something still painful there.
“We were all expecting him to be fine, but it is very painful and he probably won’t be able to play for two or three weeks, so he can’t play in the Test series.
“He’s a big loss because he’s played a full part in our victories in the last 12 months or so, both with the bat and the ball.
“He needs to go home and get it sorted and try to get himself right for the one-day series. It is a blow but we’ve still got some strong bowling resources.”
As well as Onions (above), who is hoping to add to the last of his eight caps, there was more encouraging news around Chris Tremlett, who is recovering from a sore eye and is set to play in the second warm-up match.
Matt Prior will join him, but there were fresh concerns over star spinner Graeme Swann, who did not take the field against the ICC due to a sore thigh muscle.
Swann’s value to the side is immense and, after sending him for a scan, they will not be taking any chances before the first of three Tests against Pakistan on January 17. And if English bowlers’ bodies were taking their time to get back into the swing of things, after a two-month break, then so were their batsmen, who again did not have things their own way.
The ICC side gave England a thorough contest and only Strauss looked at home in making 78 – chasing 261 – before slapping a long hop straight to mid-wicket.
Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell had a bit more time in the middle in scoring twin 30s, but England will hope to see a bit more from Kevin *Pietersen and Eoin Morgan in the next game.
Perhaps trying to justify the $2million that Delhi Daredevils have paid for him in the IPL, Pietersen’s dismissal for one to George Dockrell was careless.
“There are things we need to work on,” added Strauss.
“It was not perfect, but there were some very good performances and we’re better for the game.”
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