Side strain puts Woakes in doubt for remainder of series
Chris Woakes is set to miss the whole series against South Africa due to the side strain he suffered last month in the opening game of the Champions Trophy.
Woakes has returned to training but is still unable to use his front arm fully while bowling, and with a lack of championship cricket for Warwickshire between now and the end of the South Africa series, he is unlikely to return to international cricket until England play the West Indies next month.
Woakes could be back in time for the fourth Test at Old Trafford but that coincides with a championship game for Warwickshire, and England are likely to want him to play in that match instead.
Jake Ball, the Nottinghamshire seamer, is making better progress with a knee injury and could be back for his county next week in a Twenty20 match but remains unlikely to be considered for England selection until the fourth Test at the earliest.
England had hoped Woakes would only miss the start of this series when he suffered the side strain during the eight-wicket victory against Bangla- desh at the Oval at the beginning of June but side strains are notoriously difficult to treat for fast bowlers and rushing him back would risk making it worse.
“It felt like someone was sticking a knife in my side,” Woakes said at the time of his injury. He did consider playing Twenty20 cricket for Warwickshire as a batsman but did not want to risk hurting his right side in the field.
England will delay naming the squad for the third Test at the Oval until later this week as they reassess after the match at Trent Bridge.
The England and Wales Cricket Board are reviewing their emergency safety procedures in the professional game as they react to the Luke Fletcher injury last week. Nick Peirce, the ECB’s chief medical officer, chaired the first meeting of the newly formed emergency care committee last week which will standardise life-saving procedures for cricketers playing in professional matches.
The committee was formed before Fletcher, the Nottinghamshire bowler, was struck in the head last week while bowling in a Twenty20 match, but that incident has focused minds in cricket about the dangers in the professional game.
The meeting followed a report last year by Peirce reviewing cricket’s emergency care procedures which has already seen changes brought in such as a physio for each team in second XI cricket and life-saving training for umpires.
Out of the picture: Chris Woakes has returned to training but can not use his front arm fully