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England puts rookies on stand-by

December 03, 2008 14:47 IST

Fearing that a number of senior players may opt out of the Test series in case England actually embarks on the tour of India, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided to keep three rookie bowlers on stand-by.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the untried Middlesex trio of Tim Murtagh, Alan Richardson and Steven Finn would be part of the England team which is scheduled to fly to Abu Dhabi on Thursday to join the camp before the two-Test series against India.

The Abu Dhabi Cricket Club, which hosted the recent Pakistan-West Indies ODI series, would be the base of the England team before the Test series against India, the report claimed.

The move to put the rookie bowlers, all possessing up-to-date Indian visas, on stand-by came following reports that pacers Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, apart from spinner Graeme Swann, are reluctant to tour India following the Mumbai terror attacks.

Pacer James Anderson is also likely to stay back to be with his pregnant wife.

To make it worse, injuries to pacers Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad have further depleted England's pace bowling department.

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