Roy pulled up running a quick single in the early stages of England’s vain pursuit of 190 to beat South Africa on Saturday (they fell 11 runs short). The pain was evident, as he was helped from the field at tears and emerged at the close on crutches.
A scan yesterday confirmed that a tear and that Roy’s tournament is over, although the damage was not as serious as some in camp feared. He hopes to be fit in time for England’s T20 tour of the Caribbean in late January, his next important assignment.
“I’m gutted to be ruled out of the World Cup,” said Roy. “It is a bitter pill to swallow.
“I will be staying on to support the boys, and hopefully we can go all the way and lift that trophy. It has been an unbelievable journey so far, and we have to continue expressing ourselves and concentrating on us.
“The rehab has already started, and even though I’ve torn my calf, I’m going to give myself the best chance of being ready for the T20 tour of the Caribbean at the start of next year.”
James Vince, a travelling reserve, has been approved by tournament organisers the ICC as Roy’s replacement in the squad. The Hampshire captain is the second reserve promoted in recent days after Reece Topley stepped in for Tymal Mills, who injured his left thigh in the win over Sri Lanka.
England and New Zealand meet in the first semi-final in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The final takes place on Sunday against the winner of Thursday’s meeting between Pakistan and Australia. India face the indignity of having nothing but pride to play for in their final group match, against Namibia today.
England will hope that Roy’s absence does not prove a tipping point on an already long injury list. Roy and Mills join Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran on the sidelines in a significant test of the much-trumpeted white-ball depth built over the last six years.
England face a headache over how exactly to replace Roy in the XI. Not only is he a classy opening batter who has a strong rapport with his in-form opening partner Buttler, he plays the role of tone-setting talisman in England’s aggressive approach.
When he went down with a hamstring injury in the 2019 World Cup, England looked a little lost, losing to Sri Lanka and Australia. On his return, he scored three successive half-centuries as England made it to the final. We know what happened next.
The obvious route is to promote Jonny Bairstow, a white-ball opener of real pedigree to open, with Sam Billings coming into the middle order as a finisher. Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone, who showed strong form on Saturday, are also candidates to open.