Doubts over Ajmal Shahzad`s availability for WI game

Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 19:37 PM IST

Chennai: England`s preparation ahead of their must-win game against West Indies suffered a setback when key members of the squad including pacer Ajmal Shahzad were laid low with a stomach bug, but skipper Andrew Strauss exuded confidence that his men would recover in time for the all important clash.

Fast bowler Shahzad became the latest player, after Strauss and off-spinner Graeme Swann, to be down with stomach bug. The captain and team`s lead tweaker Swann both missed yesterday`s training session due to illness while strike bowler James Anderson received treatment for a shoulder niggle.

"I am feeling well now. Obviously, laid low the night before and yesterday morning to some extent. But I feel fine now. Graeme Swann is also recovering well. He should be practising today. I don`t know whether he is quite as fine as I am. We are confident that Swann will be fine for tomorrow`s clash. Shahzad has been struck as well. He probably won`t practice today," Strauss told reporters here on the eve of their high-profile group B clash.

"We are not sure at this stage whether that is going to affect Ajmal chances of being selected for tomorrow. It has happened to a lot of experienced guys going down in this World Cup.”

"We try and take all the precautions that we can do. But these things are likely to strike at some stage. You should be prepared to ride them and hopefully make sure guys get better quick enough to be able to play," he added.

A difficult selection dilemma definitely is the inclusion of speedster Anderson, who hasn`t been in good form in the tournament so far.

Anderson has so far taken only four wickets in five league matches of the World Cup at an average of more than 70.

Strauss is clearly aware of the fact that defeat would spell doom as it would mean the end of the road for World T20 champions.

Obviously the shock defeats at the hands of both Ireland and Bangladesh haven`t done their chances any good.

"Anderson has had a tough time in the World Cup so far, but we all know what a quality performer he is. His name is very much in their for selection, but I am not sure how much Shahzad`s unavailability would influence his selection," he said.