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Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ashes: Andy Flower ponders replacement for Stuart Broad

Tour Match, Melbourne: Victoria v England
Venue: Melbourne CG Dates: 10-12 December Start time: 0000 GMT
Coverage: Scorecard on the BBC Sport website, Ceefax and mobile phones with updates on BBC Radio 5 live and Twitter


Flower 'fairly clear' on Broad replacement

England coach Andy Flower has suggested he has an idea who will replace the injured Stuart Broad in the third Ashes Test, starting on 16 December in Perth.

Ajmal Shahzad, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan are all in the reckoning, and all will play against Victoria in the three-day match starting on Friday.

But Flower said: "You don't judge people on one performance.

"We have ideas of who would replace Broad. But we will get 270 overs of viewing our potential replacement."

England's emphatic win at Adelaide, opening up a 1-0 series lead, means they will retain the Ashes if they win in Perth.

But finding a suitable replacement for Broad, who was unlucky to take only two wickets in the first two Tests and has 99 wickets overall in 34 Tests, is the major issue for Flower to deal with.

Broad, 24, suffered an abdominal tear on the penultimate afternoon of the second Test and will therefore miss the rest of the series and the following one-day internationals.

Flower is sympathetic to Broad's disappointment, but confirms England have long had contingency plans for such injuries.


"It's really unlucky, because he's been an integral part of our side and our relative successes over the last couple of years," said the coach.

"It's not good for him, it's not good for the side. But these things happen. We weren't totally naive in thinking we'd get through the whole Test series without injuries to any of our quicks.

"We thought it was a priority to get some of our back-up quicks into good nick."

That opportunity presented itself when England sent Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson and off-spinner Graeme Swann to Brisbane to acclimatise early for the first Test in Brisbane - while others shared the bowling duties against Australia A in Tasmania.

Tremlett took the honours statistically there, but all three of the possible replacements for Broad performed encouragingly.

"They had a good run-out in Hobart, they'll get another one here [in Melbourne] against the Vics."

Ajmal Shahzad, Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan
Shahzad, Tremlett and Bresnan are all looking for a Test berth

Anderson, who has flown back to England for the birth of his second child, will miss the Victoria match - but is expected to return in good time for Perth.

Finn and Swann are also certain to be rested, while Alastair Cook, who has scored 450 runs already in the series, will be the first choice among the batsmen to get a break.

Kevin Pietersen may also get some time off, but Strauss is likely to remain in charge.

Batsman Eoin Morgan and wicketkeeper Steve Davies, the only two members of the squad yet to feature on tour, are thus expected to play against Victoria.

While England will contemplate just one injury-enforced change for the next Test, a whole raft of options are being considered by Australia's selectors, with their squad for Perth due to be named on Friday.

There have even been fanciful calls in the media for the return from retirement, at the age of 41, of master leg-spinner Shane Warne.

One group of Queensland businessmen has called for a million-dollar kitty fund to tempt Warne back.

But Flower retorted: "I've heard about some of the figures he earns - they might need to get some more contributions together."

The Zimbabwe-born coach was swift to respond to suggestions that England might be in danger of adopting a complacent attitude to proceedings.

He said: "How can we be complacent? We've got a long way to go, and we're only 1-0 up in a five-Test series. That would be a crazy way to think."

England (v Victoria at the MCG, probable): AJ Strauss (captain), IR Bell, IJL Trott, EJG Morgan, MJ Prior, PD Collingwood, SM Davies (wkt), TT Bresnan, A Shahzad, CT Tremlett, MS Panesar.

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see also
Ponting backing Hughes for Perth
08 Dec 10 |  Australia
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Injured Broad ruled out of Ashes
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Strauss confident of series win
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Katich set to miss rest of series
07 Dec 10 |  Australia
Ponting urges Aussie improvement
07 Dec 10 |  Australia
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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