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Eoin Morgan's World Cup in doubt due to finger injury

Eoin Morgan's World Cup in doubt due to finger injury
© Reuters
The skipper suffered the problem during fielding practice on Friday.

England captain Eoin Morgan was facing a nervous wait for X-ray results on his left index finger after an injury scare six days before the World Cup opener.

Morgan was taking part in fielding practice at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, where England face Australia in a warm-up match on Saturday, when he took a blow involving catching drills using a bowling machine.

He lingered on the pitch for a couple of minutes before the discomfort persuaded him to seek assistance and the decision was eventually taken to send him for what was described as a "precautionary X-ray".

England Nets Session – Hampshire Bowl
Eoin Morgan during practice on Friday (Adam Davy, PA)

Morgan was back at the team hotel shortly after 2pm and was said to be in good spirits as he awaited medical updates.

England were not contemplating any contingency plans before hearing news but there is no doubt that his absence – for any period of time – would constitute a major blow to preparations.

The tournament hosts take on South Africa at the Oval on May 30 and would dearly love to have Morgan's level-headed captaincy and explosive batting with them for the curtain-raiser.

Hampshire's James Vince is the spare batsman in the squad and would deputise if required, initially against Australia on his home ground.

Morgan had spoken 24 hours earlier about the importance he attached to the competition.

"To play a World Cup final at the home of cricket...everyone here would have dreamed about that as a kid," he said at the captain's launch.

"Every captain sitting on the couch here would lose their left leg to play in the final."

England spinner Liam Dawson was not present when the incident occurred, with his training session taking place at the Nursery Ground, but was quickly made aware of the captain's predicament.

"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.

Liam Dawson speaks to the media in Southampton
Liam Dawson spoke to the media in Southampton (Adam Davy/PA)

"I just heard he got hit on the finger. I don't think it's too bad, we'll see what happens tomorrow. I don't really know the extent of it."

Asked to explain Morgan's importance to the squad, Dawson added: "He's massive. The cricket that's been played over the last four years has all been led by him. Hopefully he's fit and raring to go."

Brad Haddin, Australia's assistant coach, wished Morgan well and called on his own memories of battling through the pain barrier to suggest Morgan could feature even with a fracture.

"I didn't know that about Eoin, I hope he's alright," said the former wicketkeeper.

"It's a World do what you do to get through. There are measures you can use to numb the pain. The thing with a broken finger is it hurts in the nets but once you get out in the game with the adrenaline it is not too much of an issue normally."

Joe Root was not with the England side due to personal reasons, but is set to play on Saturday, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid is due to sit out as he manages a shoulder issue.

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