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Long-term fears over Sidebottom

Seamer's fitness woes becoming a cause for concern

Sidebottom: injury plagued

England are to take a wait and see approach with Ryan Sidebottom after he was ruled out of the third one-day international against India.

Watch the third ODI live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am on Thursday or log on to skysports.com for live, interactive text commentary

"It's a bit like Michael Owen back home - it's taken him so long to get back from a serious injury, and little niggles are keeping him out."

Graeme Swann

Quotes of the week

Click here to read Sidebottom's latest blog entry

The left-arm seamer missed the first two matches of the seven-game series - both heavy defeats for the tourists - due to an Achilles complaint.

But he recovered from that problem and looked set to be recalled for Thursday's fixture in Kanpur before suffering some untimely discomfort in his lower back.

Sidebottom, who has not played any international cricket since the third Test against South Africa last August, was sent for a scan but results proved inconclusive. England have yet to decide on the next course of action.

Unlucky

"He's having a bit of an unlucky run," said his Nottinghamshire and England team-mate Graeme Swann.

"He got injured during the summer and had a long rehabilitation trying to get back.

"It's a bit like Michael Owen back home - it's taken him so long to get back from a serious injury, and little niggles are keeping him out.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm desperate to see Ryan playing again because he's one of my best mates - and I think English cricket needs that sort of haircut in the team.

"He's obviously down but he's the sort of character that can easily be distracted with an episode of 'Max and Paddy' or something like that, so it's not hard to keep his spirits up.

Desperate

"He's just desperate like everyone else in the squad to get into the team and perform for England."

Despite Swann's upbeat assessment, there are growing concerns about Sidebottom's ability to withstand the hectic international schedule.

The 30-year-old played 16 successive Tests from May 2007 to June 2008 but has since been plagued by a variety of ailments.

England are due to link up with the Performance Programme Squad when they travel to Bangalore on Friday - with players like Tim Bresnan, Sajid Mahmood and Liam Plunkett waiting in the wings should Sidebottom fail to recover.