Jake Ball, Steve Finn, Ben Stokes And Counting
Concern Mounting for England in Ashes build up Starc's twin hat-trick in Sheffield Shield will do little to help the cause of the English side which is already plaguing with injuries. Although England completed a comfortable win in the practice match against Cricket Australia XI, all is certainly not well for the English side.
Pacer Jake Ball is the latest entry to the list of injured English players. The Nottingham shire bowler was bowling in the practice match against Cricket Australia XI when he sprained his ankle in his delivery stride. The extent of the injury is not known yet.
"He's been bowling nicely on this trip so far, so when you see a fellow fast bowler go off the field - particularly the way he did it, falling under himself - it's quite frustrating for him and us as a team." said Chris Woakes after Ball was spotted leaving the ground on crutches.
Just two weeks before the first Ashes test, Ball's injury comes at a time which may prove to be a great setback for England. Ben Stokes, Steven Finn, Toby Roland and Mark Wood are already set to miss out due to injuries.
Ben Stokes and Alex Hales were slapped a ban after videos surfaced of their late night brawl in Bristol. Stokes can be clearly seen punching a man in the CCTV footage. The man was severely injured and fell on the ground after Stokes' punch.
Even Mitchell Starc conceded that Stokes would have had an impact on the upcoming series. He said, "Everyone in world cricket knows how good a cricketer Ben is. He is England's best all-rounder. It is yet to be seen whether he will be on the plane - if he does come we know how good a player he is and he makes that team more balanced. If he is not there it is a blow for them and good for us."
Stokes' all around abilities would have been of utmost use to England but a moment of fury and lunacy cost him his place in the side. James Anderson has been announced the vice captain for the Ashes tour in his place.
Steven Finn, who had been announced as the replacement for Stokes met the same fate as that of his predecessor. He tore his left knee cartilage. The 28-year-old who was injured in a practice session has returned to the UK.
Surrey all-rounder Tom Curran, who is yet to make his Test debut, has been named as his replacement. Tom has featured in one ODI and three T20s for England.
Brother of OGK Roland-Jones, Toby who made his test debut at the Oval against South Africa was all set to make the England XI. Unfortunately, the Right arm medium pacer suffered a stress fracture in his back during Middlesex's championship win over Lancashire.
Though the injury is not very serious, it would keep the Durham fast bowler out of the field for at least six weeks. He would certainly not be fully fit until the middle of the series and the English team management cannot afford to take a half fit player on the tour.
Mark Wood burst on to the scene bagging a 3-for in the 1st innings against New Zealand at Lords. He was not your 'Anderson like' swing bowler but possessed great work ethics. Wood's persistent heel problem that flared up again denied him his maiden Ashes selection.
Not all is lost!
However, all is not lost for the English side. The 192-run victory over the Cricket Australia XI came as a confidence booster for them. The victory may strike a chord for the English who had been otherwise caught up in a spiral of injuries.
Mark Stoneman has been a ray of hope for the English with half centuries in each of the two innings in the practice match against Cricket Australia XI. Chris Woakes and James Anderson too, have been swinging the ball well. Moeen Ali is gradually recovering from his self inflected injury. He had earlier hit his left knee with his bat while practicing in the nets.
If England succeeds in getting its act together and gaining the much required momentum, a cracker of a series is all set to be on display for the cricket loving fraternity all over the world.