England have suffered a major double blow after Jonny Bairstow suffered a serious lower leg injury that rules him out of the Third Test against South Africa at the Kia Oval next week and the T20 World Cup.
Bairstow suffered the freak injury – thought to be a broken left leg – while playing golf in Leeds on Friday. He is said to have slipped while walking to a teebox. He will see a specialist next week to determine the full extent of the injury, but Bairstow has revealed he requires surgery and is likely to be out for the remainder of the year.
That would rule him out of the remainder of the series against South Africa, the T20 World Cup in Australia, and the tour of Pakistan in December. It ends what has been a superb year, in which he has made six Test centuries, four of them in three Tests at the start of the English summer.
“Unfortunately I am going to be unavailable for all games/tours in the immediate future,” Bairstow wrote on Instagram. “The reason being is that I have injured my lower leg in a freak accident and it shall need an operation.
“The injury came when I slipped on the golf course this morning. I am gutted and want to wish everyone for this week at the Oval all the best firstly and the boys that are going to Australia for the T20 World Cup. Absolutely gutted! I will be back…”
In the short term, Bairstow will be replaced in England’s Test squad by Ben Duckett, but it is Harry Brook, his Yorkshire team-mate, who will come into the XI for his Test debut.
The picture for the T20 World Cup is rather more complicated. Only this morning England dropped Jason Roy and promoted Bairstow to open, with Phil Salt as the first reserve. Will Jacks was selected for the tour of Pakistan, for which Bairstow was due to rest.
James Vince and Alex Hales joined Roy in being overlooked, but Managing Director Rob Key kept the door ajar for Hales to return, saying he did not believe there would be animosity with England players. In his recent documentary, Ben Stokes described Hales as “his friend at the time”, when referencing the Bristol brawl of 2017.
This is the second freak injury of Bairstow’s career. In 2018 in Sri Lanka, he spent time on the sidelines due to an ankle injury picked up playing football.