tuart Broad will miss the Second Test against India, which begins at Lord’s tomorrow, with an injury to his right calf that threatens his whole summer, while his long-time opening partner Jimmy Anderson is also a major doubt with a thigh issue.
The injury issues were serious enough for England to call up the uncapped quick Saqib Mahmood to the squad today, despite Mark Wood and Craig Overton already being in situ.
Broad suffered the injury in the warm-up at training at Lord’s yesterday and was due to undergo a scan this afternoon. Having missed training today, he will miss this Test at the least.
Broad has a good fitness record — which explains how a fast bowler can rack up 149 Test matches across 14 years — but a calf issue at the age of 35 will concern him. Anderson was blighted by calf injuries in 2019, pulling up in the first session of the Ashes at Edgbaston and not playing again until the Boxing Day Test in South Africa.
In a team set to show many changes from the rain-affected draw at Trent Bridge, Wood is likely to come in for Broad, while Mahmood and Overton will compete for Anderson’s place if he is unable to play. He missed training this morning as a precaution, with a tight quad.
The pair last both sat out a home Test in 2012 and join England’s long list of injured bowlers.
Pacemen Jofra Archer and Olly Stone are out for the rest of the year, meaning they miss the Ashes, while Chris Woakes will not be fit until the Third Test at Headingley at theearliest. Ben Stokes, of course, is taking time out to manage his mental wellbeing and a serious finger injury, too.
Mahmood was called up, but there was another change to the squad, with Dom Bess released back to his county, Yorkshire, following the recall of another off-spinner, Moeen Ali, who is expected to go straight into the team as an all-rounder at No7.
India have an injury issue of their own, with Shardul Thakur a major doubt. His absence would require a rethink of the balance of their side, as none of the other seamers in their squad would be considered good enough with the bat to line up at No8. That could earn Ravichandran Ashwin and his 417 Test wickets a recall as part of a twin spin attack with Ravi Jadeja.
England captain Joe Root today overtook Virat Kohli, moving up to fourth place in the ICC’s batting rankings.
Of far greater concern to both captains will be that they have been punished for poor over-rates in the opening Test. Both teams were fined 40 per cent of their match fees by match referee Chris Broad, as well as two points in the new World Test Championship.
In the revamped points system, a draw is worth just four points, so the teams lost half the points they earned in the match. Australia missed out on the final of the first edition of the competition because of a poor over-rate against India, who eventually lost the final to New Zealand.
Root’s other great headache is who to select in his top order. He will head up an experienced middle order from No4, with Jonny Bairstow at five and Jos Buttler promoted to six to accommodate Moeen at No7. Dan Lawrence seems certain to be omitted.
The top three is more difficult to juggle. Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley have struggled, with the latter likely to be left out as he is averaging just 11 this year.
The options to replace him are Ollie Pope, who was today looking to further prove his fitness, following a thigh injury, at training, and Haseeb Hameed. Pope has never batted No3 for Surrey before, but is a player of promise who England will want in the side.
Hameed’s selection would continue a remarkable career. He burst onto the scene in India aged 19, before suffering injuries and a dramatic decline in form that led to his release from Lancashire, his boyhood club. He has rebuilt his career at Nottinghamshire, and is now the next cab off the ranks in England’s top three.
Friday of the Test is the third annual “Red For Ruth” day, in memory of Ruth Strauss, wife of former England captain Andrew, who died of cancer in 2018.