ALAN IGGLESDEN, who breaks down so often that he might shortly attract personal sponsorship from the AA, has picked up yet another injury during England's seven-day winter tour build-up trip here on the Algarve.
The 29-year-old Kent fast bowler, who damaged a groin going through warm-up exercises the day before the first Test of last summer's Ashes series, and then spent the rest of the season thwarting the selectors' attempts to pick him by collecting injuries between Tests, will not bowl again for at least three weeks after straining a side muscle during an outdoor practice game at the team's training base in Vale de Lobo.
The England physiotherapist, Dave Roberts, said yesterday that Igglesden's latest injury was 'not serious', but it none the less raises question marks about Igglesden's capacity to get through a five-Test series in the West Indies.
Igglesden's single Test appearance was against Australia in 1989 when, ironically enough, he was the last in a catalogue of late replacements during a summer in which England made a record number of 31 selections, and the then team manager, Micky Stewart, described Igglesden before the game as 'about our 17th choice fast bowler'.
Roberts said that he was 'quite sure' that Igglesden would be fit again by the time England leave for the West Indies on 15 January. 'I don't consider him to be any more injury-prone than most bowlers. It's the nature of the job. During a summer my injury treatments split roughly into 80 per cent bowlers and 20 per cent batsmen.'
He might, of course, find he has to reverse this kind of ratio on a tour to the Caribbean, although one of the more encouraging aspects of the trip to Portugal so far has been the form of the one bowler capable of matching the West Indians for pace, Devon Malcolm.
'It was speed that got me into the England team, and there are times when I can bowl as fast as anyone in the world,' Malcolm said yesterday. 'Last winter's tour to India was humiliating, the lowest point in my career, but I still watch old videos of me yorking Viv Richards the last time I was in the Caribbean in 1990, and I'll be looking to shake up their batsmen again this time.'
England A, page 35
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