Despite England initially covering up the incident that happened before training on Tuesday, news leaked from the camp on Wednesday evening that Crawley had slipped on a marble floor outside the team’s changing room at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
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News that the 23-year-old batsman had been ruled out of at least the first two Tests was confirmed by a scan on Thursday.
“Scan results have confirmed that Crawley has jarred his right wrist, which has sprained the joint and led to local inflammation,” an England statement said. “The medical team will continue to assess his progress over the next few weeks.”
How to watch India vs England 1st Test
Test cricket returns to terrestrial TV for the first time in 16 years after Channel 4 secured the rights to this India vs England series.
The broadcaster agreed a fee believed to be in the region of £7m to exclusively show ball-by-ball coverage of the four Tests on Channel 4 and All 4, the channel’s streaming platform.
- Friday: 3.45am-11.30am
- Saturday: 3.45am-11.30am
- Sunday: 3.50am-11.30am
- Monday: 3.50am-11.30am
- Tuesday: 3.40am-11.30am
Given the last-minute nature of the deal, the actual match coverage will be taken from the world feed, which will include familiar names for English cricket fans in Mark Butcher and Nick Knight – both of whom played for England when Channel 4 last had the rights to home Tests between 1999 and 2005.
But Channel 4 have announced their studio coverage will be presented by Rishi Persad, with former England captains Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss joining him as analysts.
For those who can’t quite face the early start, highlights will be available later in the day on All 4.
Crawley was expected to bat at No 3 with England opting for Dan Lawrence as a direct replacement rather than promoting Ben Stokes from No 5.
Lawrence, who made his debut during last month’s 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka, had been expected to lose his place in the middle order to Ollie Pope, who was added to the squad on Wednesday after recovering from a long-term shoulder injury.
With Jonny Bairstow, who batted at No 3 in Sri Lanka, rested for the first two Tests of this series, and captain Joe Root reluctant to move from his position at No 4, it was a headache England really didn’t need ahead of facing India.
“It’s really frustrating and really frustrating for Zak in particular,” Root said. “It was a real freak incident where he was walking out the changing room, slipped over and landed on his wrist. It’s hard for him to take, especially off the back of trying to get as best prepared as possible for this series. And of course it means we have to look at things from a selection point of view.”
England have taken steps to make the marble floor outside their dressing-room safe after several other players also nearly fell before Crawley’s freak injury. “We initially just put some towels down and since then they’ve put something more substantial down,” Root added. “We know we’ve got to be careful. It’s not something you first think about when you turn up to a ground, trying not to fall over. It was a real freak accident.”
India vs England 1st Test details
- RG Sharma
- S Gill
- CA Pujara
- V Kohli (capt)
- AM Rahane
- RR Pant (wk)
- R Ashwin
- W Sundar
- I Sharma
- JJ Bumrah
- S Nadeem
- RJ Burns
- DP Sibley
- DW Lawrence
- BA Stokes
- JE Root (capt)
- OJD Pope
- JC Buttler (wk)
- DM Bess
- JC Archer
- JM Anderson
- MJ Leach
Umpires: N Menon & A Chaudhary (both India)
Pitch report: Groundsman V Ramesh Kumar promised an “English-style” surface that will have grass initially then flatten out as the match progresses.
Weather: Warm and sunny. Maximum temperature: 29C
- First Test: 5-9 Feb (Chennai)
- Second Test: 13-17 Feb (Chennai)
- Third Test: 24-28 Feb (Ahmedabad)
- Fourth Test: 4-8 Mar (Ahmedabad)
It was hardly the ideal build-up to a series against opponents who have lost just one of their past 34 home Tests and who are still buoyant following a remarkable series win in Australia last month that was achieved with a hugely depleted squad.
India will welcome back a host of key players in Chennai, including captain Virat Kohli, who missed the final three Tests in Australia on paternity leave.
However, Root, fresh from scores of 228 and 186 in Sri Lanka, is relishing the challenge ahead of what will be his 100th Test match.
“The reason we’re here is to try to win this series,” he said. “It’s a big one, we’re all aware of that because it’s a very difficult place to come and win, but that doesn’t scare us and it shouldn’t.
“We should embrace that challenge, take a lot of confidence from the improvements we’ve made, keep striving to get better and do something special this time round.
“It’s going to be an amazing series to be part of. To get the opportunity to play India off the back of them beating Australia in Australia – what a scalp that would be for us. There will be more pressure on them than us – they have an expectation to uphold that record they have in their conditions. We’re quietly confident.
“I think it’s going to make for a fascinating watch. It will be great for Virat to be back out there as well – we want to play against the best and beat the best. So it’s an opportunity for us to do that.”
India have not lost a home series since England beat them 2-1 in 2012. Root, who made his Test debut in the final match of that series in Nagpur and was part of a side hammered 4-0 on England’s last visit to the country in 2016, said: “I played a very small part in that amazing series in 2012. I don’t think at the time I appreciated how hard it is to win in these conditions. Having toured since I have a better understanding of it and of course it would be a huge achievement for this group of players. But it’s one we certainly have the tools to go and do.”
England opted against handing Moeen Ali his first Test appearance since August 2019, with fellow spinner Dom Bess selected instead. James Anderson was also chosen ahead of Stuart Broad in an XI that sees fast bowler Jofra Archer and Stokes both return after being rested for the tour of Sri Lanka.
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