January 28, 2023

Nasser Hussain has pointed to the lack of depth in English cricket as the reason why unsuitable players had to be selected in the Ashes squad.

Hussain spoke after Darren Gough suffered another setback in his bid to be fit in time for the Second Test in Adelaide. Gough suffered a swollen knee after some discomfort during bowling practice, and with Steve Harmison suffering from shin splints, England decided to call in Alex Tudor as temporary cover.

The England selectors were told before the tour that Gough and the other running wounded would be fit enough for the Test campaign. “First of all, the medical opinion was that they would be fit when we got here,” Hussain said. “We as selectors can only take sides on medical advice.” Hussain added that England’s lack of depth didn’t give them the luxury of looking beyond such players. “Australia might be able to do that, but we can’t.”

Nevertheless, many people feel that Tudor should have been in the squad in the first place. He has a fine record against Australia, and with Gough, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones injured at the start of the tour, England probably always needed reinforcements. Before a ball has been bowled in the series, they have already had to bring in Tudor and Craig White.

Gough has been sent to the Academy in Adelaide for intensive rehabilitation. It worked for Flintoff, who now looks set to play in the first Test, but Gough has only played one first-class match in over a year and must now be a serious doubt for the back-to-back second and third Tests.

“It’s very disappointing because I felt I was almost there with my recovery and ready to play again,” Gough said. “What I want to do is work hard at the Academy and give myself the best possible chance to get myself back into shape for the rest of the winter.”

“Darren is making good progress in his recovery from injury and it is very frustrating for him and the team that he has a setback at this stage,” said England coach Duncan Fletcher. “He has done everything we asked for in terms of fitness and strengthening and we hoped he could play class cricket this weekend.

“Our priority now is to ensure he receives intensive one-to-one treatment for his injury and expert medical advice. At this stage we cannot put a time frame on Darren’s recovery and will have to wait for further guidance from the specialist. in terms of his level of involvement in the rest of the winter programme.”

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