England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has been given painkilling injections by the medical staff, raising questions about his fitness ahead of the Test series against South Africa that starts on Thursday, reports the Daily Mail. The 30 year old has had saline injections in both his achilles tendons for a chronic problem. England already have concerns over Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann, with both bowlers still struggling to shake off elbow problems.
All three players are expected to feature in the first Test at The Oval on Thursday but it remains to be seen whether they are fit enough to survive the duration of the three-match series.
Pollock Expects South African Triumph
Meanwhile, former South African fast bowler Shaun Pollock stated he feels South Africa have the edge over England in the bowling department as both teams prepare for the much-awaited series. The former Proteas swing bowler tipped his country to win the series and said he expects Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander to have a big impact for the visitors, with Morne Morkel, Jacques Kallis and Imran Tahir offering good support.
"I'd back South Africa to win it 2-1. They have a settled unit, Dale Steyn is the No 1 bowler in the world and now he is backed up by Vernon Philander who's had a huge impact. They also have an attacking spinner in Imran Tahir, plus Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis. People like [James] Anderson are fantastic in English conditions. But South Africa have the edge," The Sun quoted Pollock as saying.
However, the former Warwickshire player admitted that South Africa's lack of preparation in English conditions is cause for worry for the tourists ahead of the first game.
"It is a bit of a concern The test for all the batsmen on a tour of England is the late swinging ball and the ball nipping around off the seam. I don't think it's much of a concern for the bowlers, I think they can prepare wherever. It's just the batsmen and the surface they're going to face," the Guardian quoted Pollock as saying.
South Africa can displace England at the top of the world Test rankings if they win the series.
England: A Strauss (c), J Anderson, I Bell, R Bopara, T Bresnan, S Broad, A Cook, S Finn, G Onions, K Pietersen, M Prior, G Swann, J Trott
South Africa: G Smith (c), H Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, I Tahir, J Kallis, M Morkel, A Petersen, R Peterson, V Philander, J Rudolph, D Steyn, A Morkel, L Tsotsobe, T Tsolekile