England ban football warm-ups after Rory Burns injury

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Jan
3

England have sounded the final whistle on football as a warm-up activity in training sessions.

Ashley Giles, the director of England’s men’s teams, has never made any secret of his disapproval of his side playing football. And, after Rory Burns became the latest player to sustain a football-related injury, Giles and Chris Silverwood, the England coach, have decided to ban the activity.

Burns suffered serious ligament damage to his ankle after landing awkwardly while playing football as a warm-up to training on Thursday. He was subsequently ruled out of the rest of the series in South Africa and will fly back to England on Friday night. Jonny Bairstow also suffered a football-related injury in Sri Lanka at the end of 2018 while, in the past, Joe Denly and James Anderson have also been hurt playing the game.

Giles said when he took the job that 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.

Giles banned football from Warwickshire when he was director of cricket there. England have denied suggestions football has been banned at all counties as a warm-up activity, saying it is up to each individual county to decide.

The England management team 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.

Meanwhile, Jofra Archer may also have played his final game in the series. He will undergo a second scan on his sore right elbow on Friday after the first one proved inconclusive.

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