Eoin Morgan is hopeful of leading England in next week’s World Cup opener despite a finger injury that will keep him out of Saturday’s warm-up against Australia.
The captain suffered a scare when he hurt his left index finger during catching drills at the Ageas Bowl on Friday and was sent to hospital for X-rays which showed “a small flake fracture”.
That was enough to rule him out of the following day’s game but the prognosis was for a full and swift recovery that would see him fit for the tournament curtain-raiser against South Africa in five days.
Speaking on www.cricketworldcup.com, Morgan said: “The digit is the best I could have hoped for. I dropped a catch at training and dislocated it earlier and there’s a very small fracture in there but I’m good to go.
“I am going to miss the game tomorrow unfortunately but, as regards to the first game of the tournament, I should be fit to go. Very good news.”
Morgan was taking chances from the bowling machine on the outfield when he was struck, lingering on the pitch for a couple of minutes before the discomfort persuaded him to seek assistance.
The decision was taken to send him for what was described as a “precautionary X-ray” and shortly after 2pm he returned to the team hotel, which is part of the stadium complex, in good spirits.
Almost three hours passed before the ECB made the results public and, although it was immediately clear that he would not be taking the field against Australia, the news that it was neither a bad break nor one which would immediately rule him out of the first group match was positive.
Monday’s practice against Afghanistan, also at the Oval, was not mentioned but it seems likely that England will only allow their inspirational skipper to take part if he is fully fit.
Hampshire’s James Vince will take his place in the short term, slotting into the middle order on his home ground, but in terms of experience, form, international output and leadership he is not yet in Morgan’s class.
The question of batting replacements briefly rose up the agenda as Morgan awaited his diagnosis, a field thinned by Alex Hales’ removal from the squad for failed recreational drug tests and Sam Billings’ dislocated shoulder.
Joe Denly, culled from the preliminary 15-man squad in an all-round role, would be most likely to get the call should any of the top six succumb, with Ben Duckett also worthy of discussion.
Denly was leapfrogged by slow left-armer Liam Dawson on account of the latter’s stronger bowling and the Hampshire spinner will return against Australia as Adil Rashid rests a niggling shoulder problem. Joe Root was absent from training on personal business but will play on Saturday.
Dawson was batting at the Nursery Ground when Morgan was hurt but quickly became aware of the incident.
“I was batting on the other side, so I didn’t know what went on. When I came back to the dressing room a couple of the lads were talking,” he said.
“I just heard he got hit on the finger. I don’t think it’s too bad, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Asked to explain Morgan’s importance as the figurehead of the squad, Dawson added: “He’s massive. The cricket that’s been played over the last four
South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis hit a fine 88 as the Proteas sealed an easy 87-run win over Sri Lanka in their World Cup warm-up match on Friday.
Du Plessis and Hashim Amla starred in a 128-run second-wicket partnership.
Faf scored his runs off just 69 balls while Amla’s 65 took just 61 balls.
Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Andile Phehlukwayo (35) then helped South Africa reach 338-7 in their 50 overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka were propelled by captain Dimuth Karunaratne – who hit 87 – while Angelo Mathews hit 64 from 66 balls but South Africa’s superior bowling attack proved too hot to handle.
Phehlukwayo capped a perfect day by taking 4-36 as Sri Lanka folded for 251 in 42.3 overs.
South Africa play West Indies in their second warm-up game at Bristol on Sunday before opening the tournament against England on May 30.
The 2019 World Cup is likely to see the introduction of ‘away’ kits for the first time. According to a report in the Guardian, teams that have kits of similar colour will have one side wear the away kit.
Out of the 10 teams in the tournament, England, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan wear blue kits, albeit of different hues. Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh have green as their main colour.
According to the report, the shoulders, sleeves and the back of India’s away jersey is bright orange. Sri Lanka and South Africa are set to play in yellow away kits. Bangladesh and Afghanistan will play in red against teams in green and blue respectively.
The report added that since Pakistan are the designated ‘home’ team in their clashes against Bangladesh and South Africa, they are likely to retain their green jersey.
However, West Indies, New Zealand and Australia have no such issues as their jersey colurs – maroon, black and canary yellow – clash with no teams.