Cricket: Smith breaks toe in training

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ROBIN SMITH, the England batsman, has broken a toe, a week before the tour party leaves for India. But the England manager, Keith Fletcher, is confident that Smith will not miss any early matches on the tour, which begins on 3 January.

Smith was struck on the foot by Chris Lewis during the final net session at Lilleshall on Thursday and X-rays later confirmed that the big toe of his left foot was broken. The England squad depart for the three-month tour on 28 December.

Fletcher said: 'It's just a little hiccup. He could play next week if we needed him to - and I am certainly expecting him to be ready for our first match in India. It's only a crack and by then he would have had almost three weeks to recover anyway.'

England's first international of the tour is on 16 January and Fletcher said Smith will be 'fully fit' by then.

Tom Graveney, the 65-year-old former England batsman, has been chosen as match referee for next year's Test and one-day series between West Indies and Pakistan. But his appointment by the International Cricket Council could run into difficulties because of a comment he made five years ago.

Graveney backed Mike Gatting after the then England captain's argument with the umpire Shakoor Rana which threatened the 1987 tour of Pakistan. 'They've been cheating us for 37 years and it is just getting worse and worse,' Graveney said then. 'It was bad enough when I toured in 1951. The TCCB should bring England home.'

Pakistan have made no official complaint about Graveney's appointment for their tour but there has been adverse newspaper reaction in Karachi and Lahore.

BBC Radio will provide ball-by- ball commentary of next summer's Test series against Australia. Coverage will be carried by Radio 5 for the morning sessions and switch to Radio 3 FM after lunch.