England sweat on Broad’s fitness for first South Africa Test

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London (AFP) – England are set to discover later Thursday whether Stuart Broad will be available for the first Test against South Africa after the fast bowler aggravated a longstanding heel injury playing county cricket.

The 30-year-old Broad only bowled one over Wednesday before leaving the field with pain in his heel as Nottinghamshire completed a dominant innings-and-280-run victory over Midlands rivals Leicestershire in the County Championship.

An England spokesman has told AFP that Broad, a mainstay of England’s Test attack with 368 wickets in 102 matches, has undergone a scan and that the results are expected later Thursday.

Broad has been wearing specially adapted bowling boots in a bid to minimise the impact of the injury for several years now.

Nottinghamshire coach Peter Moores tried to play down the impact of Broad’s latest injury by saying: “Stuart had a bit of pain in his heel, he’s had it for a while.

“If the situation had been different he could have pushed on through it, but there was no need to so he came off and we’ll monitor it and look after him,” added Moores, himself twice a former England coach.

Nevertheless the doubt over Broad’s fitness is the latest concern England have regarding a key member of their pace attack ahead of this season’s opening Test, which starts at Lord’s on July 6.

James Anderson, Broad’s longstanding new-ball partner and England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, has only recently returned from a groin injury, Chris Woakes is struggling with a side strain and seam-bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes has been hampered by a knee problem.

    <figure><figcaption>England bowler Stuart Broad, seen during day three of the third Test match between South Africa and England at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on January 16, 2016 
        <span>Copyright AFP/File MARCO LONGARI</span>
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