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Regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

England ban football practice

Rory Burns suffered serious ligament damage to his left ankle after landing awkwardly while playing football in practice

Agencies CapeTown Published 03.01.20, 09:38 PM
The decision to ban football practice was made by head coach Chris Silverwood (in picture) and was supported by Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket

The decision to ban football practice was made by head coach Chris Silverwood (in picture) and was supported by Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket File Picture

England have put a stop to warm-up football games after Rory Burns’ injury ruled him out of the Test series against South Africa.

Burns was injured before England’s final practice ahead of the second Test, which started at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.

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The ban was confirmed by an England team spokesman, who said the decision was made by head coach Chris Silverwood, and was supported by Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket.

Giles previously banned football warm-ups during stints with counties Warwickshire and Lancashire but had not stopped the England team from playing the game.

It was the second relatively serious injury by an England player in just over a year. Jonny Bairstow was injured and missed several matches during a tour of Sri Lanka in October 2018. In the past, Joe Denly and James Anderson have also been hurt playing the game.

Burns suffered serious ligament damage to his left ankle after landing awkwardly while playing football as a warm-up to training on Thursday. He will fly back to England on Friday night.

Giles said when he took the job he was unhappy to see football as part of England’s warm-up. But he was persuaded by senior players that it was an important part of the bonding process of the squad and agreed to review it once the World Cup had finished. The injury to Burns appears to have strengthened his resolve.

“This will open a whole new can of worms because Ashley Giles announced when he first came in that the one thing he wants to stop is football before a game because he sees the number of injuries through it,” former captain Nasser Hussain said on Sky Cricket.

“They are told to play football but to not tackle and have no physical contact. But you know what it’s like when 15 players get together — they can’t hold themselves back.”

England have denied suggestions that football has been banned at all counties as a warm-up activity, saying it is up to each individual county to decide.

The England team management will discuss whether they need to call-up a replacement for Burns over the next day or two. They have, at present, only one reserve batsman — Bairstow — in the squad and are likely to consider Dawid Malan, James Vince and Keaton Jennings as options. But with the squad size still 18 and only two Tests left after this, it is far from certain they will send for anyone.

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