The ongoing World Cup is not going according to plan for the defending champions England with Reece Topley ruled out. The team led by Jos Buttler has already lost three out of four matches with the latest defeat against South Africa being the heaviest (by 229 runs) in their ODI history.
Adding to their woes, they have been dealt with a huge blow now as arguably their best pace bowler of the tournament, Reece Topley has been ruled out of the tournament.
He fractured his left index finger during the previous match on Saturday while fielding the ball off his own bowling. It was the fourth over of his spell then and walked off midway, with Joe Root completing the over. However, he returned to bowl later with fingers taped together and sent down five more overs but didn’t come out to bat.
With scans confirming the fracture to his finger, the England Cricket Board (ECB), on Sunday evening, confirmed that the left-arm fast bowler’s World Cup is over. The board also confirmed that the fast bowler will return to the UK soon and work with the medical team with regards to his rehabilitation.
Topley’s replacement, however, is yet to be announced.
The exit of Reece Topley is certainly a huge blow for England as he was their highest wicket-taker with eight wickets to his name. He featured in the matches against Bangladesh, Afghanistan and South Africa to return with the figures of 4/43, 1/52 and 3/88 respectively.
Who can replace Reece Topley?
Meanwhile, England head coach Matthew Mott, on Saturday (October 21) night, confirmed that Jofra Archer will not be considered as Topley’s replacement. Many believed that Archer will be readily available to replace Reece Topley after the former joined the squad as the travelling reserve in the lead up to the South Africa game.
In terms of replacement, Mott insisted that they might look for an X-factor player which is why they had not named travelling reserves as well. For the same reason, they could be tempted to bring in an extra batter in the line-up or even a spin-bowling all-rounder in Liam Dawson or Will Jacks or even Rehan Ahmed.
England are currently at the ninth position in the points table with three losses and their net run-rate of -1.248 is second worst among all teams. They have to win their next five matches to have hopes of making the semifinal and the run starts with the encounter against Sri Lanka who are themselves struggling with the situation similar to England.
However, the main challenge for the defending champions will be the matches against hosts India and Australia that follow on October 29 and November 4 respectively. England will end their league stage clash against Pakistan which might be crucial as well but for that to happen they have to win earlier matches in order to stay in contention to make it to the semifinal.
England updated squad: Jos Buttler (C), Harry Brook, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow, Gus Atkinson, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood