Rory Burns has been ruled out of the remainder of England’s tour to South Africa with ankle ligament damage sustained playing football in England’s training session on the eve of the second Test in Cape Town.
Burns, who top-scored in England’s second innings of the first Test at Centurion, will now return to the UK. Zak Crawley is set to take Burns’ position at the top of order alongside Dom Sibley. Crawley, a 21-year-old who regularly opens the batting for Kent in the County Championship, made his Test debut on the recent tour of New Zealand scoring one run in his solitary innings. England have yet to call up a replacement for Burns into the squad.
Rory Burns has been ruled out of England's tour of South Africa.
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Jofra Archer is another injury concern going into the second Test. The fast bowler didn’t take part in Thursday’s training session and is likely to make way in the playing XI for 22-year-old off-spinner, Dom Bess.
This isn’t the first instance in recent times of an England player missing a Test match after injuring themselves playing football during a training session. Last winter Jonny Bairstow missed two ODIs, a T20I and a Test on England’s tour of Sri Lanka after injuring his ankle playing football in training.
England director of cricket Ashley Giles is a known opponent of football being played in warm-ups. After his appointment to the role at the start of 2019, Giles said: “If you look at what football does, the benefits from a psychological and fun point of view are outstripped by the dangers from it, but we will discuss that. I am not coming in with an iron rod right now.”
At the time, Giles said that he would discuss the issue with England captains Joe Root and Eoin Morgan and the head coach at the time, Trevor Bayliss.
Burns’ injury continues what has been a tour full of misfortunate for England. Over half of the touring party have been struck by illness at one point or another while Mark Wood and Jack Leach are still unavailable for selection through injury and illness respectively.