Reece Topley’s elimination from the T20 World Cup 2022 owing to an ankle ligament injury has given a serious blow to England’s World Cup quest.
The 28-year-old bowler will not participate in the competition after rolling his left ankle on Monday in Brisbane during fielding practice in preparation for England’s last warm-up game against Pakistan.
In replacing Topley, another left-arm seamer named Tymal Mills has moved up from his position as a travelling reserve, while Lancashire fast Luke Wood will soon join the team as a reserve.
Due to a toe injury, Mills has not played since August.
In addition to group matches against the hosts and defending champions Australia, 2021 runners-up New Zealand, and two qualifiers, England’s first T20 World Cup match is against Afghanistan on Saturday.
With 17 wickets in 16 games at an average of 28.6, Topley leads England in T20 international wicket-taking in 2022.
The Surrey bowler, who now ranks 11th in the T20 international bowling rankings, has evolved into a crucial component of England’s T20 bowling assault, playing with the new ball and at the end.
Topley’s successor Mills appeared four times for England in last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE, taking seven wickets at an average of 15.42 before being forced to withdraw due to a thigh injury.
Topley, by the way, replaced him in the England squad on that occasion.
Topley responded to the news on Instagram, saying he was “devastated” but wished England the “best of success.”
Livingstone has done ‘everything’ to be fit for the opening
While the loss to Topley is a big blow for England, the return of Liam Livingstone in the last warm-up match against Pakistan on Monday was positive.
After missing nearly three months due to an ankle injury, the all-rounder returned with one wicket and a quick-fire 28 off 16 balls, including a big six that landed on the Gabba roof.
Livingstone said: “There’s only so far you can push it before it swells up and knocks you back a couple of days. Flying hasn’t made it the easiest. I have to compress it every time I fly.
“It’s just the physios wrapping it up in bandages just so it doesn’t swell up. The swelling’s what limits my range of movement, which makes it a little more painful to train on.
“So I’ll be pretty much training every morning and icing all afternoon. It’s been niggly but there’s a World Cup for England to play for so all the boring days are worth it.
“I’ve done everything I can to make sure I’m fit and available for Saturday. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at and we’ve still got another few days before the first game.”
There was a little scare in his innings against Pakistan when he toppled down while turning around, but Livingstone stated he gave it his all.
“I didn’t really want to go hell for leather,” he said. “I pretty much played at 90 per cent. I just wanted to make sure I got back to cricket and got through my bowling, which has been my main worry.
“My batting’s been fine since pretty much when I started back to cricket, the turning and stuff were going to be difficult, so to have a slip on it and to feel all right is a bit of a confidence booster. I’ve still got some work batting-wise but I’m close to where I want to be.”
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