England’s preparations for the World Cup have been hampered by the news that Eoin Morgan, their captain, has sustained a “small flake fracture” to the left index finger after an incident during a fielding drill.
Morgan, who had been preparing for England’s warm-up match against Australia at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, was sent to hospital for an X-ray after practice.
An ECB statement confirmed the fracture, but added that Morgan is “expected to make a full recovery” ahead of England’s opening fixture in the World Cup, against South Africa at The Oval on May 30. He will, however, sit out the Australia game.
The injury occurred while Morgan was practising his slip catching on the Ageas Bowl outfield. He was clearly in serious pain after the impact, and left the field immediately for treatment.
Although the diagnosis has allayed fears about Morgan’s availability, the loss of their captain would have been a grievous blow to the team’s hopes of living up to their No. 1 world ranking, and lifting the World Cup for the first time in the team’s history.
Morgan’s leadership has been an integral part of England’s rise from ignominy at the 2015 World Cup, both through his on-field tactical acumen and cool head, and in fostering the close-knit team culture that has already enabled the squad to regroup following the potential disruption caused by Alex Hales’ failed drugs tests.
Speaking at the launch of the England team kit earlier this week, Morgan explained how the team had put in place contingency plans to cope with unexpected setbacks.
“We’ve planned for instances when the [team] culture had been tested or individually we’d been tested,” he said. “There’s still loads of things that we’ve planned for that might continue to crop up throughout the World Cup.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been smooth, I’d say we’ve been better equipped at dealing with anything that’s cropped up, certainly as a group,” he added.
“Our prep and planning has been excellent and the guys have responded to that by performing on a consistent basis.”
Joe Root did not train on the eve of England’s warm-up match either, having stayed at home for personal reasons. He is due to link up with the squad on Friday evening.
Adil Rashid is also expected to miss the Australia game due to rest an ongoing shoulder niggle. Liam Dawson, England’s belated inclusion in the 15-man party, is expected to take his place.