Bairstow is understood to have slipped while approaching a tee box during a round at Pannal Golf Club near Harrogate, an innocuous incident that has left him requiring surgery and facing several months on the sidelines.
The 32-year-old will be badly missed by his country, having hit a career-best run of form in the Test arena and just been handed a crucial new role at next month’s T20 tournament in Australia.
Just six hours before the England and Wales Cricket Board announced his withdrawal, managing director Rob Key had included Bairstow in a 15-man squad for the event and named him as the team’s new opening batter.
With Jason Roy dropped following an extensive run of disappointing form, Key confirmed the selection panel had chosen to promote Bairstow to the top of the order having identified him as the best player in the country to partner captain Jos Buttler.
Those plans will now require hasty revision, though a reprieve for Roy appears unlikely. Instead, there is a real chance for his Surrey and Oval Invincibles team-mate Will Jacks to make a charge.
Jacks is in excellent form and has been included as one of five uncapped players in this month’s T20 tour of Pakistan, making him the front-runner.
You can't keep this guy down 😤
He'll be back. pic.twitter.com/TXVmoldTaB
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 2, 2022
More immediately, Bairstow’s absence is likely to lead to Harry Brook’s long-awaited Test debut at the Kia Oval on Thursday. He has been an unused squad member all summer, waiting for his opportunity, and should get his chance despite the addition of Ben Duckett as cover.
Following an ECB announcement about his injury, Bairstow took to Instagram, writing: “Unfortunately I am going to be unavailable for all games/tours in the immediate future. 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…”