London – England coach Andy Flower has said Graeme Swann “should be fit” for next week's first Test against South Africa after the off-spinner had a cortisone injection in his sore bowling elbow.
Swann, 33, has been a mainstay of world number one Test-ranked England's side in all three international formats but, together with seamer Tim Bresnan, was rested from the climax of the 4-0
one-day series win over Australia.
But Flower expects Swann to be back on duty when England put their number one status on the line against South Africa in the first of a three-Test series starting at The Oval a week on Thursday.
“Swann has a cortisone injection in his elbow Ä and with the combination of rest and the injection, he should be fit for the Test,” said Flower.
“They have had these ongoing elbow problems, both Swann and Bresnan.
“Our medical staff believe they will be fit and available for selection for the first Test.
“But it's a strenuous exercise, being a bowler playing international cricket.
“They play all three forms of the game. So that's why Swann missed a big part of the one-day series and why we rested Bresnan on occasion.”
Meanwhile, turning to the batsmen, Flower acknowledged the progress of his former Essex team-mate Ravi Bopara, whose unbeaten fifty at Old Trafford on Tuesday sealed England's one-day triumph over Australia and saw the all-rounder put pressure on Jonathan Bairstow for the number six spot in the Test side.
“We have been talking about it Ä I wouldn't say constantly but regularly Ä and we have got a very clear idea of the way we're going,” Flower said.
“You spend a lot of time with players like Ravi and Alastair Cook at Essex. I played with Ravi and have obviously spent a lot of time in that coach-player relationship,” he added.
“We want him to do well, like him as a friend and rate him as a cricketer, so it's very rewarding in a number of ways.”
Although England's focus has now turned to Test cricket, Flower was encouraged by their recent run of 10 successive one-day international wins and the implications for next year's Champions Trophy tournament in England.
“In knockout situations, we are experienced now in those tournaments – and we're playing very well at the moment,” said the former Zimbabwe batsman. – Sapa-AFP