Jason Roy has been ruled out of England‘s World Cup matches against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka after tearing a hamstring, with the batsman set to be reassessed later this week to determine his availability for the rest of the tournament.
The batsman sustained the injury during England’s eight-wicket victory over the West Indies on Saturday. After complaining of hamstring tightness at the time, an MRI scan later revealed a tear.
A date has yet to be set for his return, raising concerns of a longer-term absence.
Roy was joined by captain Eoin Morgan in limping off during the West Indies’ innings.
Morgan suffered a back spasm, which has since settled down, but will continue to be monitored ahead of England’s match against Afghanistan.
The captain could still feature in Tuesday’s match at Old Trafford but given his importance as a batsman and leader, it is unlikely any gamble would be taken with his long-term fitness.
Regarding Roy’s setback, England are keen to avoid rushing to conclusions on his prognosis, with James Vince lined up to deputise. Nonetheless, the possibility of an injury call-up before the competition concludes has inevitably brought Alex Hales’ name into the frame.
The experienced 30-year-old was inked into the squad until news broke that he was serving a 21-day ban for twice breaching the ECB’s recreational drugs policy, opening the door for Vince.
Morgan said last month there had been “a complete breakdown in trust” between Hales and his team-mates, with the implication being that bridging the gap would be a long-term process.
With question marks now surrounding Roy’s readiness for the rigours ahead, Morgan hinted that national selector Ed Smith could be the man to determine Hales’ fate.
“I think it would be a case of speaking to Ed because ultimately Ed gets the final call and say on who is involved in the 15,” he said.
“Then it’s addressing how that would look in a changing room set-up. I’ve not been part of any discussions simply because I’ve been firmly focused on managing the players and everything else that’s ongoing.
“When we selected the squad we did have conversations on underlying replacements for particular players. So they are always ongoing in the background and I’m not involved in a lot of them.”
For now, though, it is Roy’s fitness that is concentrating England’s minds.
They will hope he is not missed in this week’s double-header against two nations who have failed to gather any traction in the competition so far, but his fearless hitting at the head of the innings could be a priceless commodity at the business end.
The group stage wraps up with games against Australia, India and New Zealand, all of whom are likely semi-final opponents should England reach the final four. With Roy in tow, any assignment looks more manageable.
“He’s in the best form of his life. So he’s very important,” said Morgan.
“I certainly believe Jason will play again in this tournament. At the moment he’s going to be assessed continuously over the course of the next week. He’s out of the next two games. So we’ll see how he pulls up after that.
Additional reporting by PA
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