Solanki's chance as injury ends Pietersen's tour

A depleted England will take on a rejuvenated and strengthened Pakistan in the remaining three matches of the one-day series following Kevin Pietersen's withdrawal from the squad. Pietersen aggravated an old rib injury during an England training session on Friday and played in pain during the two one-day matches in Lahore.

During each innings Pietersen clutched his side on several occasions and while fielding on Monday he was reduced to throwing the ball into the keeper underarm. He has been advised by England's medical staff to rest for four to six weeks, and last night followed the route of Michael Vaughan and Ashley Giles by returning home.

Initially, it was believed that Pietersen, in an attempt to get through the remaining games of the five match series - which stands at 1-1 - would have a cortisone injection to alleviate the pain. Yet this course of treatment was, apparently, abandoned late on Monday evening when his discomfort increased. England will not call up a replacement even though Pietersen's departure leaves the tourists with only a 14-man squad from which to select.

"I was looking forward to a strong one-day series," said Pietersen prior to his exit. "I hate missing matches and despite trying to play in the first couple of one-day games the pain was just too great.

"I certainly wouldn't want to let any of my team-mates down due to injury whether it is with the bat or in the field so the only choice left to me is to rest the injury with a view to a full recovery in time for India."

Dr Peter Gregory, the England and Wales Cricket Board's chief medical officer, expects Pietersen to have made a full recovery before England leave for India on 13 February.

As England's most explosive batsman limped out of the series Pakistan have the pleasure of welcoming theirs back. Shahid Afridi will replace Danish Kaneria and play in tomorrow's third one-dayer in Karachi after serving a three-match ban for attempting to scuff up the pitch during the Faisalabad Test.

Afridi scored a scintillating 92 and claimed four wickets in the second Test but it is in one-day cricket that he made his name.

As a 16-year-old he posted the fastest one-day hundred in his maiden innings. It is a record he still holds. Afridi took just 40 balls to reach three figures against Sri Lanka in 1996-97 and, with a career strike-rate - runs per 100 balls faced - of over 100, has been terrifying bowling attacks ever since.

Whether Afridi returns to his usual position at the top of the batting order has yet to be confirmed as Pakistan have plenty of talent in this position. Salman Butt, the Test opener, has batted superbly in the opening two games and Kamran Akmal scored a brilliant hundred on Monday.

The loss of Pietersen should give Vikram Solanki the chance to prove that he is not just a super "supersub". Solanki has successfully filled the role for England on two occasions now, scoring a fighting half-century against Australia at the Oval last summer and an unbeaten 39 two days ago.

England lost both matches but without his batting the defeats would have been highly, rather than mildly, embarrassing. Ian Bell is likely to be England's "supersub". Well, it is either Bell, Kabir Ali or Shaun Udal, and teams rarely use a bowler to fulfil the role.

England's preparations for tomorrow's pivotal match will once again be far from ideal. On Monday there were the player appearances on the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show, and here it will be a late arrival.

The ECB did not want England to play a match in Karachi because of fears of a terrorist attack, and in an attempt to minimise the amount of time that they spend in Pakistan's commercial capital they are scheduled to fly in this afternoon and depart on Friday morning.

England (probable): M E Trescothick (capt), M J Prior, A J Strauss, V S Solanki, A Flintoff, P D Collingwood, G O Jones (wkt), I D Blackwell, L E Plunkett, S J Harmison, J M Anderson. Supersub: I D Bell.

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal (wkt), Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar. Supersub: Arshad Khan.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home