Kevin Pietersen Gives Injury Update as England Suffer Matt Prior Ashes Setback

Christopher AtkinsContributor INovember 11, 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 11:  Kevin Pietersen of England walks to the indoor nets ahead a nets session at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 11, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

There have been updates on the fitness of both Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior ahead of the first Ashes Test later this month, with the news concerning Pietersen more encouraging.

The explosive batsman has missed both tour games thus far due to his knee injury and will require an injection to aid his recovery, but tweeted to assure fans of his fitness.

Per the Telegraph's Derek Pringle, Pietersen was in Melbourne for treatment:

Pietersen, who spent three months out with the same injury this year, is to have a cortisone injection and on Sunday flew not with his team-mates to Sydney for their final warm-up match but for expert medical opinion and treatment in Melbourne.

However, by early afternoon local time he was able to tweet “I AM FINE #relax” when he arrived in Sydney after receiving both a scan and a cortisone injection to the troublesome joint in Melbourne earlier in the day.

Regarding Prior, who suffered a calf injury in the final day of the recent warm-up game with Australia A, the ECB confirmed he will miss the coming fixture with a New South Wales XI due to the problem.

A spokesman confirmed, per Sky Sports:

Matt Prior has been ruled out of the tour game starting on Wednesday with a low-grade tear of his left calf. He will continue his rehab and recovery with a view to being picked for the first Test.

It is now just 10 days until the two sides will meet in the first Test of five to come over the course of the Australian summer, and England will be keen to see their two experienced batsmen return to fitness.

Pietersen, so often England's match-winner against Australia, will offer a major psychological boost to the hosts were he to miss out, while Prior's absence would see the inexperienced Jonny Bairstow take up the wicketkeeper's gloves.

Should both make the side, neither is likely to be affected by the expected batting reshuffle. The form of Michael Carberry has led many to suggest he will open the batting with Alastair Cook, with Joe Root dropping into the troublesome No. 6 position.

Per the Telegraph's Scyld Berry, Carberry's scores of 78 and 153 on tour so far will earn him a place in the side, allowing Root to drop down the order to the position where he played until the summer's Ashes series.

Bairstow had been England's No. 6 in the summer, but has seen his average fall to just 30 in Test cricket per CricInfo. England will hope Prior can return in time for Nov. 21 to avoid the 24-year-old also having to bear the responsibility of keeping wicket.

England head into the series confident of securing a fourth straight triumph over Australia in Ashes contests, but will be wary that injuries to key players could leave them up against it in what are unfamiliar conditions for many younger players.