Hoggard doubtful after back spasm
Matthew Hoggard has been ruled out of the first Test against India, at Lord's, after being sent to hospital following a back spasm. It is the latest blow to hit England's pace bowling options with Steve Harmison ruled out of the series after undergoing a hernia operation on Tuesday.
"I feel mightily peeved," Hoggard said in The Times. "I bowled three balls and couldn't run in to bowl any more. I kicked some stumps -- not too hard or I could have ended up in traction -- and realised straightaway that I wouldn't be playing in the Test match."
James Anderson or Chris Tremlett will replace Hoggard with Stuart Broad expected to debut in place of Harmison. Anderson has been bowling well for Lancashire, picking up 5 for 98 in the recent Championship match against Yorkshire, while Tremlett impressed the selectors playing for England Lions against the Indians at Chelmsford.
England are now left without a single member of the 2005 bowling attack that won the Ashes. Andrew Flintoff is continuing his recovery from ankle surgery, Simon Jones is still only appearing in occasional one-day matches for Glamorgan and Ashley Giles is ruled out of another summer. It will also be the first time since the Oval Test against Australia in 2001 that none of Hoggard, Harmison or Flintoff have lined up in a Test.
However, Michael Vaughan would rather view the situation as a challenge than a concern. "It's new and exciting to see," he said. "It's a brand new attack with no Harmison, Flintoff, Giles or Simon Jones. We had a great attack in 2005, but it's new and exciting for us all to see how they react to playing in front of a lot of people, against a very good batting team. It's going to be a great challenge for whoever plays."
While England have suffered a run of injuries to their bowlers in the last couple of years, Hoggard remained a constant member of the attack for 40 consecutive games until missing the final Ashes Test at Sydney in January. Since then he has also been hit by a run of injuries and missed two Tests against West Indies after picking up a groin strain at Lord's in May.