Steven Finn out of first Test

  • Last Updated: November 14 2012, 9:14 GMT

Steven Finn has been ruled out of England's first Test against India by a thigh strain.

England captain Alastair Cook confirmed that Finn would miss out in a press conference in Ahmedabad.

"Steven will not be available for tomorrow's Test", said Cook. "It would be too big a risk."

England are already contemplating a gamble on Stuart Broad's fitness as he has been troubled by a bruised heel.

Cook did not confirm who would replace Finn at the Sarwar Patel Stadium but seamer Tim Bresnan is the favourite to get the nod.

Fellow seamer Graham Onions and spinner Monty Panesar would be alternatives to Bresnan.

One bowler England will 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.

In his column in the Sun, Swann wrote: "I am now totally focused on the first Test after flying home because our little baby was unwell.

"Two long-haul flights in the space of five days is not ideal preparation for the opening match of a huge series for England - but some things are more important than cricket."

Although Swann missed several days of practice, the spinner insisted he feels ready to go.

"I had sleep flying back to India and any jet-lag has gone. I'm fresh and the ball has been coming out well in practice," he wrote.

"I am now concentrating on the Test. I love it when I know I'll have a lot of work to do. The conditions will be hot, the pitches dry and spin will be a big factor in the four-Test series.

"I genuinely believe we can win but we must play better against spin than we did in the three Tests against Pakistan earlier this year.

"We need to get back to playing the same brand of smart, aggressive cricket we did when winning The Ashes a couple of winters ago."

Much of the focus in the build-up to the Test has surrounded Kevin Pietersen's return to the team for the first time since he was dropped for sending 'provocative' text messages to members of the South Africa team.

Swann has welcomed Pietersen back to the fold and believes he can make a big difference in India.

"I hope we'll play sensible but aggressive cricket," he said.

"Nobody can be more destructive, of course, than Kevin Pietersen and his return to the dressing room has been very smooth.

"I think that was always going to be the case after those meetings with him in Oxford before the tour. That effectively killed off anything that happened during the summer and it's been the normal mickey-taking and banter with Kevin.

"In any dressing room, there are always leg-pulling comments. Although I must be honest and say Kevin is not the butt of most of the jokes because there are one or two players specially reserved for that!

"Now we want the cricket to do the talking. And I'm sure Kevin feels the same way."

England captain Cook would not be drawn on his plans to replace Finn in the bowling line-up, and resented the accusation that he was picking from the also-rans.

He told Sky Sports News: "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. "Yesterday it looked quite a dry wicket and I think it's been relaid so not much first-class cricket has been played on it."

Cook also found time to welcome Pietersen back into the fold after his controversial absence over the summer.

"It's good to have him back," he said. "He's a guy who can change games very quickly, like he did in Columbo, and he can win matches for us.

"Not many people can do that. The process, or whatever you want to call it, has finished and he's moving on.

"It's great to have Kev back. The whole side have adapted the situation that's happened over the last few months and we've drawn a line under it and moved on. He's moved on and the lads have moved on.

"I just want to concentrate on what's important, which is playing cricket.

"What I don't want to change is his confidence and his swagger because that's what makes him such a great player.

"As a captain, that's what you want."


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