Kirtley faces fitness battle for tour berth

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James Kirtley is unlikely to win a call-up for England's two-Test series in Bangladesh because he has not yet fully recovered from a leg injury.

It had been widely expected that the Sussex fast bowler, who made an immediate impact on his Test debut this summer, taking six wickets in the second innings of the Third Test against South Africa at Trent Bridge, would be the likeliest replacement for the injured James Anderson.

But yesterday Kirtley virtually ruled himself out of consideration, saying: "I will be working with a physiotherapist over the next couple of days on the post-tibial stress syndrome, but I am not optimistic."

Although Kirtley could undergo a fitness test on Wednesday, he is more inclined to grab a few more weeks to allow the condition, which is a precursor to a full-blown stress fracture, to clear up.

"I don't really want to go for a short-term fix," he added. "If I stay at home now to continue the treatment, it will give me three or four more weeks to get myself fit for the one-day internationals against Bangladesh, followed by the Sri Lanka leg of the tour."

The England selectors are due to announce the replacement for Anderson in the next couple of days, and the new favourites are likely to be Somerset's Richard Johnson and Worcestershire's Kabir Ali, although Kent's prolific wicket-taker, Martin Saggers, could be in with an outside chance at the age of 31.

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