ngland’s seam-bowling strife has deepened with the news that Saqib Mahmood has been ruled out for the whole summer with a stress fracture of the back.
Mahmood made his Test debut on March’s tour of the Caribbean, and impressed with the ball – with six wickets – and the bat, making 49 from No11 in his first Test innings. He has also performed well for England in both white-ball formats.
Mahmood, 25, was in line to be included in the Test squad to face New Zealand, which will be named on Thursday. But having missed Lancashire’s last couple of Championship matches, scans have uncovered the serious back injury.
An ECB statement read: “Mahmood was unavailable for Lancashire’s last Championship fixture due to low back pain, and scans have revealed that he has a lumbar stress fracture and will miss the remainder of the 2022 English summer.”
Mahmood joins a long injury list. Jofra Archer and Mark Wood are approaching returns from elbow injuries, but only in white-ball cricket at first. Olly Stone is a long-term absentee, Matt Fisher is out too, while Chris Woakes and Sam Curran are not yet back to regular bowling.
That means James Anderson, 39, and Stuart Broad, 35, will once again take centre stage against New Zealand from June 2, while Ollie Robinson’s checkered recent fitness record will be under the spotlight.
In-form, uncapped bowlers such as Durham’s Matty Potts, Essex’s Sam Cook, Surrey’s Jamie Overton and Reece Topley will come into contention when the selectors meet on Monday night.