Tim Bresnan has been advised to have a second operation on the elbow problem that led to his exclusion from England's tour of New Zealand, but the Yorkshire all-rounder hopes to be playing again in the spring to earn a place in the Ashes.
Bresnan flew home at the end of the one-day series in India last week after being troubled by the right elbow on which he had surgery in November 2011. He briefly joined Yorkshire in pre-season training but the England and Wales Cricket Board's specialists have decided that another operation is necessary, and he will head for the US within the next week.
That leaves the 27-year-old with a race against time to prove his fitness for the start of the international summer in May, when England play two Tests against New Zealand – the second at Headingley – before the Champions Trophy and then consecutive Ashes series.
"He's going out to America in the next week or so, and he'll be there for a week or two to have an operation and then some rehab on his elbow," said Yorkshire's captain, Andrew Gale. "He might then come to Barbados [on Yorkshire's pre-season tour] or he might not. But he's certainly going to have to prove his fitness if he's going to get back in the England side for that first Test match. Hopefully we will see a bit of him early in the season. That will be a bonus.
"At this point I'd say yes, it probably is realistic for him to start the season. But I guess it all depends on how his trip to America goes. You're never quite sure with elbows and how they're going to react to operations, as it showed when he had his last operation and it took him longer to come back from than he thought."
Bresnan missed the whole of England's Test and one-day series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last January and February as a result of his last operation, which came after he had firmly established himself in the team with a match-winning performance against Australia in Melbourne followed by an excellent home series against India. He returned for the second Test against Sri Lanka in April and victories in that game and the first two Tests of the home series against West Indies extended England's 100% record with Bresnan in the team to 13 matches.
But he has only taken two wickets in his last four Test appearances, and the national selector Geoff Miller confirmed in explaining his exclusion from the New Zealand tour that England were concerned at the lack of nip in his bowling – although he did take four for 45 in the last ODI against India in Dharamsala.
Chris Woakes took his place in the squad for the three-Test series against New Zealand next month.
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