England head into Thursday’s second Test against India at Lord’s under a cloud after Stuart Broad was ruled out for the remainder of the season and Jimmy Anderson emerged as a major doubt with to a thigh injury.
Broad underwent a scan after pulling up in training on Tuesday and the upshot is a tear to his right calf muscle that will require around two months of rehabilitation. The 35-year-old will now set his sights on returning for this winter’s Ashes series in Australia.
The news came on the day that Anderson, his long-time new-ball partner, reported soreness in his left quad muscle and is now awaiting scan results himself. Saqib Mahmood, his uncapped Lancashire teammate, has been added to England’s squad in response and a new-look attack awaits.
With Ben Stokes taking a break for mental health reasons, Jofra Archer out for the rest of the year and Chris Woakes not yet fit after a bruised heel, the problems continue to mount for captain Joe Root and Chris Silverwood, the head coach, even if the series remains locked at 0-0 after last Sunday’s draw in Nottingham.
“I don’t think it’s too much of a destabiliser to be honest,” said Jonny Bairstow. “I think with the nature of professional sport there is going to be injuries at times, there is going to be illness. It can happen overnight and you’ve got to be adaptable within the group. That’s what we have been.
“It would be a big loss, naturally because [Broad and Anderson] have got more than 1,000 Test wickets between them. But with that comes an opportunity for other people. When we’ve seen that previously in the summer, in the Pakistan ODI series, opportunities arose for other people and they rose to those challenges.”
Ollie Robinson looks set to take the new ball in his third Test, with Mark Wood expected to add pace to the lineup. Moeen Ali was already down to play as a spin-bowling all-rounder at No7, with Sam Curran at No 8, and, if Anderson misses out, either Mahmood will make his debut or Craig Overton will return.
There could be as many as four changes to England’s lineup when they walk out to a sell-out crowd, with Nottinghamshire’s Haseeb Hameed being considered for a recall in place of either Zak Crawley or Dom Sibley in the top three.
India are expected to recall Ravichandran Ashwin after all-rounder Shardul Thakur suffered a hamstring injury, with Virat Kohli stressing that picking an attack to take 20 wickets will take precedence over bolstering their batting lineup.
Kohli, India’s captain, also welcomed the return of Moeen to England’s ranks, the pair having struck up a strong rapport during their time playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
He said: “Moeen is a good friend of mine, we’ve got to know each other very well over the years. He’s obviously a very talented cricketer, brings consistency with the ball. As a middle order or lower order batsman especially in Test cricket, he can change the momentum of the game with the bat.
“We are wary of his skills. He’s in great form right now, he’s batting really well and with the ball he is always someone that the team has banked on so we will have to be at our best going up against Moeen.
“He’s a great guy. Obviously, whenever we take the field, with skills we compete but it’s always mutual respect and a really nice environment when he’s playing on the field, whether it’s with or against he’s always been a pleasure to share the field with.”
The players will need to pick up their heels in the field at Lord’s, with both teams docked two World Test Championship points each and 40% of their match fees after a slow over-rate at Trent Bridge.