Joe Root's cruel break throws a spanner in England's World Twenty20 plans

23-year-old Yorkshireman has flown home from the Caribbean after breaking his thumb


Joe Root is seriously doubtful for the World Twenty20 after breaking his right thumb. The injury was confirmed before the squad left Antigua for Barbados and he flew home last night.

England have not yet surrendered all hope of his being fit in time for the tournament and he will see a specialist to determine if recovery is likely. It comes at an unfortunate time for the 23-year-old Yorkshireman, on the eve of a major event just as he has recovered his touch.

In the space of a few days on the short Caribbean tour he has become an invaluable asset to the limited overs team. He made a seamless hundred in the third one-day international, his second on tour, which was the more impressive for being compiled after he was hit on the right thumb by the third ball he received.

Later he also opened the bowling with his off spin and took a wicket before leaving the field. It was clear that England had devised a strategy not only for the West Indies but for the World Twenty20 where slow bowling is likely to play an important part.

The hope of recovery may be forlorn given that fractured digits can be slow to heal properly but England will not give up lightly. They should know by Monday if a return by 22 March when England play their first match against New Zealand is realistic.

Ian Bell, who joined the squad after originally being called up as cover for Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales, now looks certain to go to Bangladesh and play in the starting XI. Although both Morgan and Hales are now fit, the role for Bell suddenly looks likely to be prominent.

He has not played an international T20 for three years and has appeared in only seven in all. Nor was he in the original 30-man squad for the World Twenty20 but Ashley Giles, the limited overs coach, sees his vast experience and the huge respect he has in the dressing room as being significant qualities.

The damage to Root did not seem too serious when Ravi Rampaul hit him on the bottom hand. Root took some painkillers, was bandaged and resumed his occupation of the crease. If he was in discomfort Yorkshire grit demanded he did not show it, though he admitted afterwards that it was extremely sore.

England appear to have allayed a potential row over ball tampering. One of the balls in Wednesday's match was changed after the umpire Marais Erasmus detected unnatural deterioration. Under the regulations had England transgressed again in the series a five run penalty would have been imposed.

With the series over, they start with a clean sheet. Although captain Stuart Broad, professed himself baffled, the clear implication is that England had better watch it.

Trott sets date for Warwickshire return

Jonathan Trott will make his return to cricket in Warwickshire's two-day pre-season match against Gloucestershire, which begins on 1 April. The 32-year-old right-hander left this winter's Ashes tour after the first Test in Brisbane with a stress-related illness.

Trott tweeted: "Thrilled to confirm I will return for @CricketingBears vs Gloucs on 1st April. Thanks to everyone for such amazing support" .

Warwickshire director of cricket, Dougie Brown, said: "I am certain he will be back as England's No 3 in the near future."

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