Cricket: England's tours hit by rain and strain

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England's initial practice plans yesterday were washed away by the sudden end to Antigua's drought. Torrential showers soaked the new Caribbean Cricket Centre, which is being overseen by Viv Richards along with the former MCC secretary, Lt Col John Stephenson. England did manage to fit in a run, swim and a little beach cricket. More rain was forecast for today, and showers are expected tomorrow and Thursday.

On the England A tour, Ben Hollioake has been ruled out of the three- day match with Kenya in Ruaraka, starting today, further weakening the tourists' already stretched seam bowling resources.

The 20-year-old Surrey all-rounder suffered a groin injury during Sunday's one-day victory, contributing only two overs before limping off for treatment.

"Ben's tweaked his groin muscle so he's a little bit wary about it at the moment. He will probably need to rest it," the coach, Mike Gatting, said. "Because there is only a day between matches, we wouldn't want to risk him in case he aggravates it further."

It leaves the tourists desperately short of seam options. They are limited to the strike bowlers Paul Hutchison, of Yorkshire, and Leicestershire's James Ormond, following Chris Silverwood's promotion to the senior tour,

Warwickshire's Dougie Brown, who established his international credentials with a series of impressive displays during England's Sharjah triumph, arrives tomorrow to strengthen their resources but will only be available for the final one-day match of the Kenya tour next Saturday.

ENGLAND A (v Kenya, today, Ruaraka): *N V Knight (Warwickshire, capt), S P James (Glamorgan), D L Maddy (Leicestershire), A Flintoff (Lancashire), D J Sales (Northamptonshire), M A Ealham (Kent), A F Giles (Warwickshire), C M W Read (Gloucestershire) or D C Nash (Middlesex), J Ormond (Leicestershire), D A Cosker (Glamorgan), P M Hutchison (Yorkshire).