Interim England captain Moeen Ali says Jos Buttler is unlikely to feature on their tour of Pakistan, as he works to be fit for the T20 World Cup next month.
Buttler succeeded Eoin Morgan as England's white-ball skipper earlier this year following the latter's retirement, having played a pivotal role in their 2019 World Cup success in the fifty-over game.
But a recurrence of a long-standing calf issue while playing in The Hundred has left him nursing a knock just weeks away from the start of this year's short-form tournament in Australia.
England will warm up with a mammoth seven-match series over the next fortnight against Pakistan, with Moeen handed the armband in Buttler's stead, and he has now revealed that he does not know if his team-mate will figure.
"We're not sure," he stated. "He did his calf in The Hundred. He's done it before, so he's just [being] a bit more careful. Maybe at the back end of the tour, he will play one or two games, but we're not sure yet.
"It depends on how he feels. Obviously, with the World Cup in Australia, he's huge for us, and we want him fully fit for the whole competition.
"There won't be any risking him. He will decide if he is going to play in maybe the last one or two games."
England's trip to Pakistan marks a historic series and a particularly special one for Moeen, who is of Pakistani descent, as he gets to lead out the side.
"With my roots being from here and to lead England in such a big and historic series, it's huge," he added. "It's a very proud moment for me and my family, my mum and dad and everybody.
"Of course my family are very happy and my friends and my community, and everybody who I feel like I represent they’re very happy for me. Captaining England in any game anywhere in the world is a huge honour."
England follow their tour of Pakistan with a trio of warm-up games against Australia, before they get their campaign underway against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.