With the series against Pakistan around the corner the things are only getting tougher for the host England. Three players have sustained injuries in three consecutive days and one of them has ruled out of series against Pakistan and Ireland, England and Wales cricket board confirmed on Friday.
Sam Billings has ruled out of England’s limited-overs matches against Ireland and Pakistan with a dislocated left shoulder on Friday.
Wicket-keeper Billings was injured in the opening over of Kent’s One-Day Cup match against Glamorgan on Thursday, his first appearance of the season for his county after a stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
Surrey’s Ben Foakes has been called into the England squad to replace him. Though not in the 15-man squad for the World Cup, Billings, who has played 15 one-day internationals, had been in line to face both Ireland in next Friday’s one-off ODI and Pakistan in a Twenty20 match two days later.
The 27-year-old now joins a list of injury concerns for head coach Trevor Bayliss which also includes Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, and Joe Denly.
With England’s first-choice wicket-keepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow both being rested, Foakes is now in line to make his international white-ball debut.
Kent announced Billings would require surgery and would be sidelined for between three and five months, which would rule him out of any potential involvement in the World Cup, taking place in England and Wales from next month.
“Sam has seen a specialist this morning, where he underwent a scan to assess the extent of his injury,” said Kent director of cricket Paul Downton.
“The scan highlighted significant damage to his shoulder, meaning he will require surgical intervention. This surgery has been scheduled for next week and it is anticipated that he will be back to fitness within three to five months.”
Fellow England international Ollie Pope also needs surgery. The Surrey batsman, who has played two Tests for his country, dislocated his shoulder while fielding during the One-Day Cup match with Essex on Tuesday.
Apart from all this, England and Wales Cricket Board have imposed a 21-day ban on batsman Alex Hales who decided to take an ‘indefinite break’ from cricket due to ‘personal reasons’.
Last week, Hales’ club side Nottinghamshire has stated that the 30-year-old was taking an indefinite break due to “personal reasons”. As it turns out, though, Hales has been found guilty of using a banned recreational drug for the second time in his career.
The opener is understood to have tested positive for a recreational drug in recent weeks and his selection into the the provisional squad means the English selectors were not aware of transgression.
Hales was suspended and fined by England last year after he and Ben Stokes were involved in a street fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.
His drugs violation was detected after he underwent a routine hair follicle tests, which all professional cricketers in England are required to undergo at the start and end of every season. The test can detect substances in the system for up to three months.