England batsman Jonny Bairstow is a doubt for Saturday’s fourth one-day international against Sri Lanka after twisting his ankle playing football in training.
Bairstow suffered the injury in the traditional warm-up kick around and will be assessed by England’s medical staff. It seems unlikely he will be risked if there any concerns, though, with the tourists 2-0 up in the series and a proven replacement opener on hand in the form of Alex Hales.
Bairstow, who is in the squad for the forthcoming Test series, has not yet been sent for a scan but questions about the wisdom of playing football before games and net sessions are sure to resurface.
The players are known to be strongly in favour of the workout and have even awarded each other ‘fantasy football’ price tags on the current trip.
But the presence of the recalled Joe Denly in the squad offers a reminder that it was not always so welcome. He suffered a knee injury after a challenge from team-mate Owais Shah in 2009 and football was banned for a time by then coach Andy Flower.
Speaking, with an unintended prescience earlier this week, Denly said: “A few of the lads were saying I ruined their football – the best part of the day as they say.
“Thankfully it is back in now and hopefully no more injuries.”