Batsmen slipped on marble floor outside dressing-room on way to training
Zak Crawley has been ruled out of first two Tests against India with a wrist sprain.*
Crawley, who was expected to bat at No. 3 in the England side, slipped outside the dressing room on Tuesday and, having fallen heavily on his right wrist, was unable to train on Wednesday.
A statement from the ECB on Thursday morning said, “Scan results have confirmed that Crawley has jarred his right wrist, which has sprained the joint and led to local inflammation.
“The Kent player sustained the injury during England’s practice in Chennai on Tuesday when he slipped on the marble floor leaving the dressing rooms onto the field of play.
“The England medical team will continue to assess his progress over the next few weeks.”
Joe Root, England’s captain, described the Crawley’s injury as a “real freak incident”, and added that steps had been taken to prevent further such accidents in the course of England’s stay.
“It’s really frustrating, for Zak in particular,” Root said. “A real freak incident, and hard for him to take, especially off the back of trying to get as best prepared as possible for the series. And, of course, it means that we have to look at things from a selection point of view
“We initially tried to put some towels down. And since then they’ve put something a bit more substantial down for us.
“We know we’ve got to be careful, but it’s not something you first think about when you turn up to ground, trying not to slip over. It’s a real freak accident and hopefully that’ll be the last of it, and no one else can do the same thing.”
Crawley’s unavailability will provoke a significant change of tactics from England. With Jonny Bairstow having returned to England for a period of rest outside the bio-bubble, there is not an ideal candidate for No. 3 within the squad.
While Joe Root has considerable experience of batting at No. 3, he has made no secret of his preference for No. 4 and has recently demonstrated his suitability to the position. Ben Stokes and Dan Lawrence, who looked set to miss out with Ollie Pope returning, would be other options for the position.
It could also be that England utilise the incident to squeeze another allrounder into their side. Both Moeen Ali, who scored two centuries on England’s most recent Test tour of India and has previously batted at No. 3, and Chris Woakes could slot into the side and offer both batting and bowling options.
“Everything’s on the table in terms of selection,” Root added. “We’ll have to get to the ground, look at the conditions, look at the surface again, try and have real clarity get into the game.
“We’ve got lots of brilliant players, and brilliant options to choose from. And we need to look at the balance of the side as well. They will all be things that we’ll discuss over the course of today and make sure that we’re really happy with the team that we take into the game.”
*07.30am GMT, February 4: The article was updated after results of Crawley’s scans came in
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo