Injured Finn ruled out of opening test against India

AHMEDABAD Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:19pm IST

England's Steven Finn looks on from the dressing room during the final day of the warm-up game against the India A cricket team in Mumbai November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

England's Steven Finn looks on from the dressing room during the final day of the warm-up game against the India A cricket team in Mumbai November 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

AHMEDABAD (Reuters) - England paceman Steven Finn has failed to recover from a thigh injury and will miss the first test against India, his captain Alastair Cook said on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old limped off the field with a right thigh strain in England's first warm-up match at the end of October and is not fit enough to be considered for the opener of the four-match series starting in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

"Steven won't be available for tomorrow's test match. He has made some fantastic progress with the injury, has come home better than we thought, but unfortunately he is not going to make it," Cook told reporters.

"It's too big a risk to go into a game in any test match, especially in these conditions, with a guy who is not 100 percent and hasn't bowled."

The Middlesex paceman is considered key to England's chances of enjoying a successful tour after impressing during a limited-overs series in India last year.

Vice-captain Stuart Broad, who suffered a bruised left heel during the second practice game, should be available for selection after bowling at full pace on Tuesday.

Cook, who turns 28 next month, will lead England for the first time in tests on Thursday and he felt the tourists have had plenty of time to prepare for Indian conditions.

"Looking at this tour, we have said that we wanted to have as much practice as we could to get used to the conditions," said the left-handed opener, who took over as skipper following Andrew Strauss' retirement after the South Africa series.

"For the first time since I've been (coming) to the sub-continent, we've had three warm-up games.

"It's given us a chance not just to play the XI that we think is going to play in the first game, but it has given everyone a chance to get used to conditions. On that front, we have been really well prepared.

"Clearly we'd have liked to face more quality spinners in the middle but we can't control that. What we have had available, we've had some excellent bowlers bowling at us in the nets."

PIETERSEN ROW

Flamboyant batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was dropped for the third and final test against South Africa at Lord's in August over a text message row, will make his return in English whites on Thursday.

Cook said the outspoken South Africa-born batsman's re-integration in the team was "finished" and they have moved on from the row.

"As a captain, it's great to have a world-class batsman like him. He is a guy who can change the game very quickly... win matches for us in sessions and not many people in the world can do that," Cook added.

"The process or whatever you call it, in my eyes is finished. We are moving on and it is great to have Kev back and the whole side has adapted to the situation what's happened over the last few months.

"We had to draw a line under it and we've moved on."

Cook added that he would not want Pietersen, England's highest-ranked test batsman, to compromise his style on this tour.

"What I don't want to change is his confidence and the swagger he has when he bats because that's what makes him such a great player. As a captain, that's what you want," he added after a brief pause. (Editing by John O'Brien)

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