sport

Cook confirms Finn absence

Steven Finn has been ruled out of England's first Test against India by a thigh strain.

England captain Alastair Cook confirmed that Finn would miss out in a press conference in Ahmedabad.

"Steven will not be available for tomorrow's Test", said Cook. "It would be too big a risk."

England are already contemplating a gamble on Stuart Broad's fitness as he has been troubled by a bruised heel.

Cook did not confirm who would replace Finn at the Sarwar Patel Stadium but seamer Tim Bresnan is the favourite to get the nod.

Fellow seamer Graham Onions and spinner Monty Panesar would be alternatives to Bresnan.

Cook would not be drawn on his plans to replace Finn in the bowling line-up, and resented the accusation that he was picking from the

also-rans.

He told Sky Sports News: "I wouldn't call them back-up bowlers, they're all vying for a place to play in this XI, to be lucky enough to play for England.

"They've all worked hard to get used to these conditions and as selectors

we've got a tough decision to make.''

Cook admitted he had not been out to check on the condition of the wicket at Ahmedabad since Tuesday morning.

"Wickets change a lot in 24 hours,'' he added. "Yesterday it looked quite a dry wicket and I think it's been relaid so not much first-class cricket has been played on it.''

Cook also found time to welcome Pietersen back into the fold after his

controversial absence over the summer.

"It's good to have him back,'' he said. "He's a guy who can change games very quickly, like he did in Columbo, and he can win matches for us.

"Not many people can do that. The process, or whatever you want to call it, has finished and he's moving on.

"It's great to have Kev back. The whole side have adapted the situation that's happened over the last few months and we've drawn a line under it and moved on. He's moved on and the lads have moved on.

"I just want to concentrate on what's important, which is playing cricket.

"What I don't want to change is his confidence and his swagger because that's what makes him such a great player.

"As a captain, that's what you want.''