London: Tim Bresnan, the England pace-bowling allrounder, has been ruled out of the Test series against Pakistan after failing to recover from the elbow surgery he underwent before Christmas.
Bresnan travelled with the squad to the UAE last week but was not able to play in the first warm-up match against a Combined ICC XI. His absence is a significant blow for England as he is able to get the ball to reverse-swing, which is set to be a key weapon in the Test series, and also adds to the team's formidable lower-order strength.
"Bresnan tried to bowl today, having had an injection and a good rest," Andrew Strauss, the England captain, said. "I think we were all expecting him to be absolutely fine. But it's very painful - and given that, he's probably not going to be able to play for two or three weeks."
England have won the 10 Tests that Bresnan has played. Having played a key part in the Ashes series he missed the start of the last English season with a calf problem. He initially suffered the injury in the one-day series in Australia before a recurrence during a Championship match against Hampshire. He returned to the side after Chris Tremlett was injured against India. During his comeback match at Trent Bridge he hit 90 and took 5 for 48 . He went on to take nine more wickets in the series against India and score another half-century.
"I'm obviously gutted not to have an opportunity to play in the Test series," Bresnan said, "but I knew that looking at my rehabilitation programme it was always going to be touch and go to get me ready for the series. I want to wish the squad all very best and the priority for me now is to get myself ready for the one-day series in February."
Graham Onions travelled with the team to the UAE as a reserve member of the squad and has now been elevated to a permanent member. Steven Finn, who played against the ICC XI, will be the favourite to replace Bresnan in the Test line up.
Meanwhile, Graeme Swann, the England offspinner, did not field on the final morning of the match against the ICC XI after reporting some muscle soreness in his leg and will be sent for a scan, while Tremlett has been suffering from an eye infection during the early days of the tour and will visit a doctor.
Matt Prior, the Test wicketkeeper, missed the ICC XI match with a bruised finger but Strauss confirmed he will be able to play the second warm-up game on Wednesday.