Hoggard in race for fitness to face tourists

Matthew Hoggard will spend several hours a day in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at a hospital near Lord's in an attempt to prove his fitness for Thursday's first Test against Pakistan. Hoggard had to have six stitches after his England A team-mate Tim Bresnan trod on his right hand during a game of touch rugby before Saturday's play against the tourists, and it is hoped the treatment will increase the speed of his recovery.

England are optimistic that their most experienced and consistent bowler will be fit for Lord's, but the selectors are concerned over Hoggard's lack of bowling match practice. Hoggard has sent down just 22 competitive overs since England's Test defeat to Sri Lanka on 5 June, and the injury has prevented him from bowling a ball in anger at Canterbury.

The lacerations are on Hoggard's right palm and are unlikely to interfere with his bowling, but the stiffness and swelling could. It will also affect his batting and the risk of picking up an infection cannot be ruled out.

Losing Hoggard would be a devastating blow to an England attack that has already been deprived of Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Ashley Giles because of injury, and the selectors will attempt to assess how well he is bowling during practice tomorrow and on Wednesday.

"He will be using the same oxygen room as Simon Jones used," said David Graveney, the chairman of selectors. "It would be reasonable to see him bowl in the nets on Wednesday to see what he can and cannot do. We will see how he reacts to bowling before we make a decision."

The uncertainty surrounding Hoggard encouraged the England selectors to include Sajid Mahmood, an extra fast bowler, in the 13-man squad. The absence of Flintoff, who continued his recovery from an ankle injury by taking 3 for 4 in three overs for Lancashire in yesterday's Twenty20 win over Nottinghamshire, means Mahmood is unlikely to play even if Hoggard fails to prove his fitness.

Ian Bell will bat at six, a decision that highlights the futility of attempting to find a like-for-like replacement for Flintoff, and England will field a team containing just four front-line bowlers. In the past, England have been guilty of picking bits-and-pieces cricketers when Flintoff has been injured, but the tactic has failed because these players have not been good enough with either bat or ball. But by picking Bell, England will play a cricketer who has proved that he can score runs at this level.

"You can't replace the irreplaceable so you weaken the batting or bowling," said Graveney. "The scenario is that Bell will play and he and Paul Collingwood will supplement the four-man attack. We have included five pace bowlers in the squad as we need cover for Hoggard following the hand injury. Without Flintoff, there is a greater responsibility on Harmison and Hoggard, if he is available."

If Hoggard plays, Mahmood and Jonathan Lewis will miss out. Mahmood was not the only England fast bowler to be flogged around by the Sri Lankans during the NatWest series, but the assault seemed to affect him more than the others and he was dropped for the final two matches.

Lewis will play if Hoggard is unfit, and the sight of the Gloucestershire seamer walking out at Lord's would be reassuring for Andrew Strauss, England's stand-in captain. At the highest level, Lewis' bowling lacks penetration but he can bowl to a field and Strauss would be grateful for that.

Jamie Dalrymple, the Middlesex off-spinner, was the only notable omission from the squad, but Lord's is a venue where English spinners have had very little success. If Dalrymple were to play, he would do so at the expense of Bell and this would weaken England's batting. The 25-year-old could well feature in the second Test at Old Trafford, a ground that generally helps slow bowlers.

Monty Panesar will shoulder England's spin options and he is likely to get plenty of bowling over the course of the next week. After taking 5 for 78 against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge, Panesar's confidence should be high.

But Pakistan may well look to target Panesar, knowing that the physical demands on three fast bowlers will be high if they can hit him out of the attack.

England Test squad for Lord's

A J Strauss (Middlesex, captain), I R Bell (Warwickshire), P D Collingwood (Durham), A N Cook (Essex), S J Harmison (Durham), M J Hoggard (Yorkshire), G O Jones (Kent), J Lewis (Gloucestershire), S I Mahmood (Lancashire), M S Panesar (Northamptonshire), K P Pietersen (Hampshire), L E Plunkett (Durham), M E Trescothick (Somerset).

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence