Stress fracture left Porter wondering what might have been

Jamie Porter bowls for England Lions Getty Images

Jamie Porter, the Essex seamer, has been given the all clear following the stress fracture which ruled him out of the England Lions tour to Australia late last year, and is now stepping up his preparations for the Lions trip to the West Indies next month.

Porter, who took 75 wickets in Essex's County Championship winning campaign, was diagnosed with a hot spot in his back - later confirmed to be a stress fracture - before the Lions left for Australia. He was withdrawn from that part of England's plans and given a recovery process which included joining the Pace Programme at Loughborough and on their pre-Christmas trip to Desert Springs in Spain.

A second trip to Spain now beckons on a four-day warm-weather training camp with the Lions before the squad flies out to Jamaica on January 31 for a tour that includes three four-day matches and three one-day games against West Indies A.

Porter's injury meant he had to watch the Ashes from afar rather than being alongside the main squad with the chance of a call-up if needed which he admitted was "tough to swallow".

"I got told I had the hot spot and then had a CT scan, so there was a three-day period where we were scratching our heads wondering if I could get through Australia with it," he told the ECB website. "But when the scan results came back and I saw the stress fracture, that was definitely the final blow.

"You look at what followed in the week or so after that, with people in the Ashes squad going down injured, and you just never know. Hopefully I will get the opportunity with the Lions in the West Indies to put things right and put my name in the hat again."

"I had my final scan results back on Friday and it's all clear," he added. "So I'm back bowling at full whack, and I feel good - and I do want to hit the ground running."

Another pace bowler to suffer a back injury, Toby Roland-Jones, will also continue his comeback on the red-ball portion of the Lions tour. He was hit with his stress fracture just days before the Ashes squad was due to be named, for which he would have been a certain selection following an impressive start to his Test career against South Africa and West Indies.

Elsewhere in the Lions squads, Essex's Dan Lawrence, who was initially only included for the first-class leg of the trip, has been added for the one-dayers to replace Liam Livingstone after his call-up to the Test squad for New Zealand.

Livingstone, Ben Foakes and Mason Crane are part of the squad for the three four-day matches against West Indies A before they link up with the Test team for the two-match series at the end of March.

Sam Curran, the Surrey allrounder, won't be part of the pre-tour camp in Spain after the England Lions management decided he was better served continuing his overseas stint with Auckland.