YORKSHIRE’S Tim Bresnan was expected to get the nod after fast bowler Steven Finn was ruled out of England’s first Test against India, which started today, with a thigh strain.
England captain Alastair Cook confirmed that Finn would miss out in a press conference in Ahmedabad, saying: “It would be too big a risk.”
With the Lions already contemplating a gamble on Stuart Broad’s fitness, the Twenty20 skipper having been troubled by a bruised heel, the way was clear for Bresnan to come in as a replacement seamer.
Cook at a pre-match press conference did not confirm who would replace Finn at the Sarwar Patel Stadium and fellow seamer Graham Onions, along with spinner Monty Panesar, were alternatives if the skipper did not plump for the Yorkshire stalwart.
One bowler England did have available to them is Graeme Swann, with the off-spinner back in India following an emergency dash home to tend to his ill baby daughter.
Swann returned home last week after his daughter Charlotte was taken into hospital, but he has now rejoined the team ahead of the four-Test series.
While Cook would not be drawn on who was replacing Finn in the bowling line-up, he resented the accusation that he was picking from the also-rans.
He said: “I wouldn’t call them back-up bowlers, they’re all vying for a place to play in this XI, to be lucky enough to play for England.
“They’ve all worked hard to get used to these conditions and as selectors we’ve got a tough decision to make.”
Cook admitted he had not been out to check on the condition of the wicket at Ahmedabad since Tuesday morning.
“Wickets change a lot in 24 hours,” he added. “On Tuesday it looked quite a dry wicket and I think it’s been relaid so not much first-class cricket has been played on it.”
The first day’s action got under way at 4am this morning.