England v Australia, 1st ODI, The Oval September 4, 2009

'No major damage' to Denly's knee


Joe Denly has been ruled out of Sunday's second ODI against Australia, but could yet play a part at a later stage of the seven-match series, after scans on his injured left knee revealed a small sprain but "no major damage", following his collision with Owais Shah during a practice-session football match on the Oval outfield on Thursday morning.

" [He] will continue to receive treatment over the next 48 hours before undergoing a further assessment early next week which will determine a recovery timescale," said an ECB statement.

The timing and nature of the injury was especially embarrassing for the England camp, coming so soon after the abandonment of the second Twenty20 international at Old Trafford on Tuesday, which was called off because of fears for player safety. Denly scored 67 from 111 balls in tough conditions on his ODI debut against Ireland last Thursday, and though he followed up with a golden duck in the first abandoned Twenty20 fixture at Old Trafford, he had been highly likely to retain his place for Friday's match, despite the return of Strauss from a post-Ashes break.

"When a new guy comes into the squad, you want to have a look and see what he's capable of, and we are very excited at having Joe in the squad," Andrew Strauss said. "He looks like he's got the capabilities of playing all the shots you need at the top of the order. Hopefully he'll play a role at some stage of the series."

The injury was sustained as Denly toppled forwards following a collision with Shah. His left leg caught in the turf as he lost balance, and after rolling on impact he took several moments before attempting to flex his knee. He was assessed on the ground for 15 minutes by the physio Kirk Russell, and though he was initially able to leave the field unaided, he had to be helped up the steep flight of steps to the dressing rooms by Russell and the team security advisor Reg Dickason.

Denly's injury is not the first time an England player has been struck down while playing football in the warm-ups. James Anderson twisted his ankle during an end-of-day warm-down during the Wellington Test in March 2008, shortly after taking five wickets; Ian Bell turned his right ankle in the indoor nets ahead of this summer's third Test at Edgbaston, while Matt Prior suffered back spasms on the morning of the Headingley Test, and played with the assistance of pain-killing injections.

"We had a chat about it after Headingley," said Strauss. "Up until now we haven't had an instance of anyone missing any cricket through a football-related injury, but it looks like we're going to this time. The reality with Matt Prior is that it was nothing to do with football, he was just running and twisted awkwardly. But it's very frustrating, and it's something we've got to look at. Maybe we need to learn the lessons from that."

Strauss suggested that Shah's tackle had been "clumsy", and hinted that the football warm-up would now have to be reviewed. "The reason we play football is that we warm up 200 days a year, the players enjoy it and it's a good way to get people going at a time in the morning when a lot of the time you're stiff and sore and tired.

"We're all competitive human beings, it's probably why we've got to this level and that's why it's good to have competition, but it's slightly dangerous because things can go a bit far. You'd like to think the players would be sensible enough in the warm-up not to take it too far but I think they did today. We have a no-tackling rule and I'm not sure if it was heeded today."

Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, was sympathetic to Denly's plight, and recognised the need to keep the humdrum practice sessions interesting. "It's a hard one," he said. "You do so many warm-ups as players so you don't like to do the same things every day. You like a bit of fun, and the English guys love their football so they play a lot of that. But cricket is first and foremost, and that is your priority. Stuart Karppinen is our trainer and he makes clear to us that there's a time and place for a bit of fun but when were close to a game it's all cricket.

"Football is not the biggest sport for the guys in our team, they love their Aussie rules and rugby league, so we occasionally get a game of touch football, but there's always a footy that the guys like to have a kick around. It's just timing. It's unfortunate when injuries happen like this, but the trainers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They want to let the boys enjoy themselves but they also know that cricket is the No.1 priority."

No replacement has been named, but if cover is eventually required Jonathan Trott, who scored a century on this ground in the Ashes decider last month, is the obvious player to join the 14-man squad.

Ironically, Denly was a promising footballer as a teenager and once had a trial with Charlton Athletic. However, he turned to cricket after suffering a broken arm after being pushed off the ball while playing for Whitstable Under-18s. "I used to get shoved about a bit," he said in an interview in the official match programme, "and after that I decided enough was enough."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Barney on September 4, 2009, 17:18 GMT

    Chokkashokka, you're completely wrong. For a start, it's up to you which stories you want to read. If you want to hear about MS Dhoni's love life, look on an entertainment site. If you click on a story about Joe Denly, please don't then complain that the story features Denly instead of some Indian. Secondly, however good or bad England or Australia are, watching the Ashes will never be beaten by some crappy one-day tournament in the subcontinent... If you don't like English cricketers that's understandable, but don't go about complaining on here.

    Anyway! I think the risk is always there for injury whatever you do, but if people were to avoid doing anything at all because of risk the world would be a dull place! The risk of being injured should be balanced out against the fact that a team needs to warm up before a match, and that playing football is an excellent and enjoyable way of doing so.

    Having said that, Joe Denly is one of my favourite cricketers so I wish him a speedy recovery

  • John on September 4, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    If you don't want to read about England, don't click on England stories. It's not difficult. I don't care about the 'Indian works cup' or the IPL so I don't click on it.

  • Thank You on September 4, 2009, 10:41 GMT

    Honestly - who cares about this dude? Cricinfo makes it sound like its some tragic event - some dude who played one or two international matches gets hurt - get over it!! Please can we get some real news - like who Dhoni is dating or the stretching routine for Ishant Sharma. Inquiring minds want to know the real news not this washed up english fracas.....england beats a novice team of aussies on home soil and its being celebrated as some monumental achievement. Can't wait till Challenger cup and the Champions Trophy......next........

  • David on September 4, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    @Ameshisuto: If it was back before Durham were famous then I'm guessing Viv and Richie weren't too arthritic! Michael Atherton is of the opinion that cricketers need to have interests away from cricket, otherwise if all they do is live and breathe cricket, it's easy to fall out of love with the sport. I can see why they play football in order to get the players loose and larking about together in something non-cricket orientated (the huge majority of pre-match preparation is of course cricket related), but with clumsy fellows like Owais around (Strauss really did not sound happy with him) it does look like an alternative to football needs to be found.

  • Brendan on September 4, 2009, 7:44 GMT

    Does this mean that Eoin Morgan might just get a game!!! I really hope he gets a fair chance with England and doesn't get cast out in the international wilderness like Ed Joyce. Ireland are doing well but we do not have the depth of squad that the top tier nations have. I understand that players as good as Joyce & Morgan want to play for England to progress their careers, but if its only to play one-day are they better off staying with Ireland unless it looks like test cricket is a possibility. Joyce will never play test cricket for England & I dont realistically ever see a one day recall either. He will have to sit around & bide his time before being eligible for Ireland again. Anyway, rant over.... best of luck Eoin if you do get a chance to play. (See... I'm not bitter).

  • Punit on September 4, 2009, 6:54 GMT

    From the photos it appears to be a ligament tear.. not the Anterior or Posterior Cruciate, but likely the Medial or the Lateral Collateral Ligament..

    Sorry to say this folks, but poor Joey boy is done for the next 5 to 6 months.

    Its said in medical parlance, that a sportsperson would easily exchange a dozen broken bones rather than tear or break even a single ligament!!

    Yuvraj Singh is no longer the lightning fast outfielder he used to be.. he still plays with a Very heavy knee strap/cap and other paraphernalia - being as gifted as he is, he has been able to chug along but not for long, I suspect..

    Others who have been done in by ligament tears - Ravi Shastri, VVS, Vinod Kambli. In badminton and competitive dancing, skating, skiing etc., this is known as The Finisher!!

    Wish you good luck Joe Denly... May Your Knee Rest in Peace!!

  • Gopal on September 4, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    Its realy not good for England because they already don't have KP and fredy.It seems Autralia will be in driver sheet in ODI series.

  • Darshan on September 4, 2009, 4:46 GMT

    and in a seperate incident we have Michael Clarke blaming the fact that he could not get a bat at the machine for his failure in the final test...hmmm that has to be even more ridiculous than this injury.

  • Darshan on September 4, 2009, 4:42 GMT

    Amazing, they cant play cricket cause of injury concerns and yet they get injured playing football.....hmmm maybe it was because they did not do anything for 3 days and jumped straight into the football game that caused the injury. Perhaps if they played the 2nd 20/20 this would not have happened....or maybe it proves that a wet run up or not if an injury is going to happen it ll happen...taking injury prevention so seriously just seems to add to the injury list.

  • Arron on September 4, 2009, 0:12 GMT

    I see that the English cricket team's capacity for self-inflicted wounding continues unabated. Be it Ashes hubris, PR/financial disaster, captaincy, allowing players to go to the IPL, or this ludicrous little boys activity, they are surely world number one in hari kari. If this stops the footballing, great. Perhaps in a few weeks, someone can break their finger doing one of those little glove taps between overs, and they can put a stop to that effete nonsense as well.

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