England are continuing their anxious wait over Kevin Pietersen’s fitness for the third Test in the Ashes series.
Pietersen is desperately keen to play in the match after missing three games in the last home rubber against Australia and has been rigorously following the rehabilitation procedure recommended by England’s medical team.
But calf strains of the sort he has suffered are notoriously resistant to quick fixes and England are almost certain to bring a spare batsman to Old Trafford, where the match starts on Thursday. Had the second and third Tests been back to back Pietersen would certainly have been absent.
A clue to his likely availability may be given in the composition of the squad. If an extra batsman is included, Pietersen may be assumed unlikely to play. If not, the selectors will be extremely optimistic. Either way, however, there will be an extra batsman in the Manchester nets. Otherwise, Geoff Miller, the national selector, will name an unchanged cadre on Sunday at 9am.