England’s Stuart Broad a serious doubt for India Test with calf injury


Stuart Broad has emerged as a serious injury concern before what would be his 150th Test match and will undergo a scan on Wednesday after tweaking his right calf muscle during training.

A day that began with England confirming Moeen Ali’s call-up for the second Test against India at Lord’s ended with doubts over one of their premier seam bowlers, Broad slipping while undertaking a light warm-up jog.

Unable to place any weight on his right foot after the incident, the 35-year-old is now waiting to discover the full extent of the issue amid fears that either a calf strain or an achilles tendon problem could rule him out for the remainder of the five-match series.

As well as highlighting the issue of scheduling before the series – Broad played just one match for Nottinghamshire in July – the injury could open up a spot for Mark Wood in the XI, with Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson likeliest to share the new ball.

Sam Curran was the fourth seamer during the rain-affected draw at Trent Bridge, while Craig Overton is also in the squad, and some relief will come for the attack overall with Moeen likely to make the XI at No 7 and provide Joe Root with a spin option.

Asked about his advice to Moeen, who has recently been playing in the Hundred, Root replied: “Just to go out there and be Moeen Ali. He has the ability to win games with bat and ball; he’s proven that. He plays his best cricket when he is enjoying it and he’s full of confidence.

“It certainly looks that way at the moment, the way he has taken to the Hundred and led Birmingham Phoenix. I think as well I would happily give him a huge amount of responsibility if he does play because he responds extremely well to that.

“He is a leader within the dressing room, a great personality and he drags people with him on the field and in the dressing room. It will be great to have him back around.”

Moeen’s recall means a middle-order batsman is set to make way. It is likely to be Dan Lawrence, with Jonny Bairstow’s experience retained, while Ollie Pope may be forced to wait after returning from a thigh injury unless introduced higher up.

The 23-year-old right-hander is an option to replace the struggling Zak Crawley at No 3 – even if this would be higher than his usual roles for Surrey and England – but then the management are clearly considering a recall for Haseeb Hameed here also.

Asked about Hameed, who shone as a teenager in India five years ago but has only just rediscovered form, Root replied: “Ever since the first day I met him I’ve been extremely impressed with him as a person, with his maturity as a young man back then.

“I think that served him really well during a difficult spell in his career. We think of him physically maturing but I think his game has grown as well, he’s added shots to a very strong defence and has turned himself into a brilliant player.

“His work ethic is outstanding. He thinks about the game extremely well and it’s great to have had him in and around the squad this summer. If he gets an opportunity I’m sure he’ll look to take it with both hands and try to make the position his own in this team.”

India also have an injury concern, with all-rounder Shardul Thakur understood to be struggling with a hamstring problem. If so, and with the weather in London forecast to be hot, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin may reclaim his spot in their XI.