England wait to see if Tremlett is weak-kneed

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The Independent Online

For most of England's squad to tour Pakistan, today's full medical assessments will be routine. Kevin Pietersen will not be there, of course, but a scan in Melbourne yesterday found that he sustained only a minor thigh strain in the second Super Series one-day international there on Friday.

For one member of the party, however, the assessment will be crucial. Chris Tremlett's knee has troubled him since the end of May. If the treatment has not worked, the selectors will have a tricky job choosing his replacement.

Tremlett, at 6ft 7in a big man and at 24 no longer such a young one, suffers from tendonopothy, a problem with the tendon at the back of the knee. It did not keep him out of the England squad for four Tests, but he did not replace Simon Jones at The Oval. It was a frustrating summer.

His father, Tim Tremlett, who is Hampshire's director of cricket, accompanied Chris to the specialist in Stoke on Wednesday. He said: "Pro-gress is in the right direction. He's doing well." But the knee has not responded to conventional treatment. Three cortisone injections, in May, July and mid-August, failed to clear up the problem.

If Tremlett cannot go, the selectors will be choosing between age and enthusiasm. Old hacks like James Kirtley and Jon Lewis on the one hand, promising young men like Liam Plunkett or Sajid Mahmood on the other. Youth before experience, surely, especially in Pakistan.