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    Jun 2010

    Default England stars escape injury in accident

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    Four members of the England ODI squad in the United Arab Emirates were fortunate to escape injury when the taxi in which they were travelling was involved in an incident.

    Stuart Broad, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar were travelling at around 100kph when the taxi's bonnet suddenly flew up and into the car's windscreen, obscuring the driver's vision.

    The driver was able to stop the car safely, however and the players were able to take a full part in training on Saturday evening.

    There was some irony in the timing of the incident. The England team management recently declined an invite from officials at Yas Marina Circuit, the venue of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for the team to be taken around the circuit at speed in Formula One style cars. ECB officials felt such an event was outside the terms of the squad's insurance cover.

    The squad trained under the lights of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the venue of Monday's opening ODI against Pakistan. Although Jos Buttler batted in the nets, his involvement in Monday's game is looking increasingly unlikely. Buttler required stitches in the webbing of his left hand, after sustaining an injury in Sri Lanka while on England Lions duty. Those stitches remain in place and the injury was due to be inspected by a doctor on Sunday morning.

    Ravi Bopara, the 26-year-old Essex batsman, who was excluded for all three Tests, is the most likely beneficiary of Buttler's mishap. Bopara has impressed in the nets and also offers the option of his medium-pace bowling. Alex Hales, the Nottinghamshire batsman who was part of the Lions team, has remained with the senior squad as he is part of the forthcoming Twenty20 unit, but he was not considered for ODI selection.

    Kevin Pietersen looked far from his best during the net session and was particularly troubled by the spin of Monty Panesar, Danny Briggs and the former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who is now England's spin bowling coach. Panesar has remained with the squad in recognition of the frailties against slow bowling that were startlingly evident in a 3-0 Test whitewash against Pakistan.

    It was also interesting to note that Dr Mark Bawden, the England team psychologist, had rejoined the squad. Bawden flew home on the eve of the second Test but, perhaps understandably given England's struggles since, the decision was made that he should be recalled.

    Tim Bresnan is also back with the squad. Bresnan was forced to fly home before the first Test when it became clear that his right elbow required more treatment following surgery at the start of December. He returned towards the end of the Test series and played his first game for three months on Friday when he was part of the England side that brushed aside the Lions.

    Bresnan admitted he was still searching for rhythm, but said he was back up to full pace with the ball and was only wearing padding on his elbow to ensure there was no unnecessary damage should he scrape it in fielding practice.

    "It's been a long road back to fitness but I'm available for selection now," Bresnan said. "It's tough watching when you're injured and it was hard to watch the lads trying so hard in the Test series, but things not going their way. It's no fun sitting on the sidelines watching them lose.

    "The spirit is still good. They are as strong and together as a team as ever. You win as a team and lose as a team. We're all in the same boat, but now we just have to paddle a little harder.

    "We have some fresh faces in this side, but with fresh faces you also have a bit of inexperience so the more they play international cricket, they more they will learn and start churning out performances. They are a talented bunch."

    Pakistan, who defeated Afghanistan in an ODI on Friday night, cancelled their training session on Sunday and gave the players a day off. The victory was Pakistan's seventh in succession in ODI cricket and their 13th in 14 ODIs. England, by contrast, have lost five in succession and 14 of their last 20 played outside the UK.



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