England monitoring Stokes and Prior

Andover Advertiser: Emerging all-rounder Ben Stokes and England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, pictured, are nursing injuries Emerging all-rounder Ben Stokes and England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, pictured, are nursing injuries

England's selectors still have urgent business to attend to even after picking two squads to face Sri Lanka in a one-off Twenty20 and then in the first three of five one-day internationals.

Irrespective of whether they need to update a 14-man list for the final two ODIs, James Whitaker and his colleagues have several other conundrums to solve in time for the start of England's Test summer against the same opponents next month.

Top of the list will be the respective recoveries from injury of emerging all-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Matt Prior, both thought likely to be fit again in time for a round of county championship matches starting on May 25 and 26.

Stokes had the latest scan on his self-inflicted right wrist injury on Monday, and a favourable outcome means he is hoping to return to cricket-specific training next week.

Prior has not kept wicket in a competitive match yet this summer, but is optimistic his Achilles problem will have abated sufficiently to allow him to do so soon.

Whitaker said of Stokes: "He's on the road to recovery.

"He had a positive scan only yesterday, so it's slowly slowly at the moment - more pressure each day and monitor it over the next week or two.

"But he will be being reintroduced to cricket over the next 10 or so days - very gentle, netting, perhaps an academy game.

"He's one we have to take good care of in the future."

After Stokes' maiden Test hundred in the Ashes, a rare consolation in England's miserable winter, that much is evident.

As for Prior, Whitaker added: "Matty's going to play [on May 26].

"He decided rather than come back sooner and just batting, let's try and clear it up so that when he does come back he can keep and bat at the same time."

Both players can help significantly to balance England's Test team.

But the selectors are no nearer to identifying a spinner who will become Graeme Swann's long-term replacement.

Whitaker nominated Scott Borthwick, who deputised in the last Ashes Test in Sydney, among six who may come into the reckoning.

"Since Graeme has called it a day, it's an area of some concern," he said.

"It's a very open book - and how that place gets filled will be dependent on the balance of the team, conditions on the day, so to pin our hopes on one specific area wouldn't be right to say at this stage.

"It just highlights how vital to the team the talent of Graeme Swann was."

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