Ball to stay with T20 squad as injury cover


England have retained Jake Ball with the T20 squad for their triangular series with Australia and New Zealand as cover for fellow fast bowlers Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan.

Plunkett suffered a hamstring strain during the third ODI against Australia, missing the last two games as England won the series 4-1. Jordan had been playing T20 in New Zealand’s Burger King Super Smash competition but is also carrying a hamstring problem, and neither is expected to play in Friday’s warm-up game against the Prime Miniter’s XI in Canberra.

Ball has been on tour with England since the start, playing the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. He was then unused until the final ODI, when he had figures of 0 for 58 to help England win in Perth, despite having to go off the field during the closing overs after suffering a dizzy spell.

He will stay on as cover and could play at Manuka Oval if England want to rest one of their remaining seamers, Mark Wood, Tom Curran or David Willey. Ball was Nottinghamshire’s leading wicket-taker in their 2017 NatWest Blast success, although has yet to be capped in T20 internationals.

Alex Hales is also set to miss the warm-up match after injuring his hand while attempting to take a catch in the Perth ODI. England hope all three players will be fit for their opening tri-series match against Australia next Wednesday.

Hales’ absence could give James Vince a chance at the top of the order. Vince remained in Australia to play in the Big Bash League after enduring a difficult Ashes, but he has a better record in white-ball cricket and enjoyed watching on as England recorded a comprehensive victory in the ODIs.

“To beat Australia in Australia, especially after an Ashes defeat, is a great response,” Vince said. “There are a few new faces in this squad but we’ll try to take the momentum into this series.”



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