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England face tyranny of choice and South Africa’s galaxy of backroom stars | Vic Marks

Chris Silverwood’s Test series squad looks excessive at 19 while their hosts have stacked their staff with heroes of the past

Before landing in South Africa the sages in the England setup had an abundance of options, enough to keep them agonising for hours before Thursday’s first Test. A squad of 17 felt like an extravagance. There might be two spare batsmen and three spare pacemen once the serious cricket began. Now the squad has expanded to 19 with the arrival of the startled Somerset pair of Dom Bess and Craig Overton, and selection is more likely to be in the hands of the medics than the coaches as a flu epidemic threatens the best-laid plans.

After ending up in Hamilton with a novice keeper in the second Test against New Zealand, England are taking every possible precaution before the Boxing Day Test at Centurion. It might be necessary, assuming everyone returns to fitness, to order up some extra bibs for the England players sitting on the sidelines.

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