Sunday, May 19, 2024

Josh Tongue to miss first three Tests of the summer

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England will be without promising quick Josh Tongue for at least the first three Tests of the summer as they enter life after James Anderson.

Tongue has not played since last August, and was ruled out of the white-ball tour of the Caribbean and Test tour of India due to a significant pectoral injury.

The 26-year-old has now suffered a setback and looks set to miss much of this summer. While England have not put a timeframe on his return, it is understood that he will miss at least the first Test series of the season, against West Indies in July, and it is possible that he is not ready for Test action by the time Sri Lanka tour in late August. He is considered an all-format prospect, so England will hope he is at least be available for ODIs against Australia in September. 

An England statement to Telegraph Sport read: “Josh has had a setback to his original injury. There is no timescale on when he’ll return to action”.

Tongue made his Test debut last summer, and picked up 10 wickets in two matches, against Ireland and Australia (both at Lord’s). He impressed with his pace, bounce and awkward angle, which resulted in him being awarded a two-year central contract by England at the end of the summer, when he moved to Nottinghamshire (he is yet to make his debut for the county).

The news is a blow to both Tongue and England, who consider him central to a new group of fast bowlers who will take them forward as they navigate life without Anderson, who will retire after the first Test against West Indies, and Broad, who retired last summer.

Tongue’s injury could open the door for his close friend Dillon Pennington, who has impressed having moved with him from Worcestershire to Nottinghamshire this winter. Also in contention are the uncapped Gus Atkinson, Sam Cook and Brydon Carse, while the likes of Matt Potts and Olly Stone will be looking to build on promising starts to their Test career. Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson – who finds himself at a crossroads in his career – will likely provide experience.

Jofra Archer will not play Test cricket this summer, but is building up to the T20 World Cup next summer. He chose not to take part in Sussex’s second team game at Beckenham on Thursday – rain meant no play was possible until 3.10pm, and Sussex were battling – but may bowl a spell of four overs on Friday before joining the England squad for the T20 series against Pakistan in Leeds on Saturday.

Meanwhile, there was further positive news for England in the county game. Starting tomorrow at Blackpool, Ben Stokes will play the first of four matches for Durham ahead of the Test summer, and will play a full role as an all-rounder, with Potts and Carse also in the squad. Jack Leach is back in the Somerset squad for the first time this season having recovered from the injury he suffered in the first Test against India in Hyderabad. Shoaib Bashir is also in the Somerset squad to face Kent, but seems unlikely to play.

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