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Hoggard 'extremely doubtful' for first Test
Harish Kotian in London | July 18, 2007 18:59 IST
England's [Images] preparation for the first Test against India, beginning at Lord's on Thursday, was dealt another big blow when pacer Matthew Hoggard [Images] was ruled "extremely doubtful" for the match.
"Matthew Hoggard is down with back spasms. He will go for scans and an update will be available later. But, at the moment, he is rated extremely doubtful," England media manager Andrew Walpole said on Wednesday.
England are already facing an injury crisis with strike bowler Steve Harmison ruled out of the series with a hernia problem. Added to that star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff [Images] is recuperating from an ankle injury and will not take part in the Test series.
It leaves England with a highly inexperienced attack for the first Test.
The hosts are likely to field pacers Ryan Sidebottom (four Tests), James Anderson (16) and one of the debutants, Stuart Broad or Chris Tremlett.
Monty Panesar [Images], with 17 Tests behind him, will be the lone spinner in the team.
India's last Test series victory in England came 20 years back, in 1986. Dravid's team must realize that there is no better chance than now to do it again.