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Willey injury clouds England ODI hopes

David Willey, England's outstanding bowler in World Twenty20, could miss England's one-day series against Sri Lanka next month with an abdominal strain.

Willey himself has not abandoned hope of recovering fitness, but he has been advised by Yorkshire's medical staff not to bowl for six weeks, and the Royal London Series begins at Trent Bridge on June 21 - exactly that time frame.

England's medical staff is bound to want to monitor Willey's progress closely. His recovery would have to be advanced by a week, so enabling him to have a fitness run out in at least one of two Yorkshire Royal London One-Day Cup matches against Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire at Headingley.

Willey, 26, has begun to forge an international career since making his debut a year ago. He has been a regular limited-overs performer under England's coach Trevor Bayliss, featuring in 24 of the 33 internationals.

Willey suffered his injury on the opening day of Yorkshire's Specsavers Championship match against Surrey at Headingley. He bowled 20 overs as Yorkshire bowled out Surrey for 330 on the opening day - a demanding but far from excessive workload. A scan revealed a Grade Two tear.

"It's obviously disappointing for me to pick up a niggle in my second match," he said. "I felt the injury towards the end of the first day - a bit of fatigue and not used to bowling that many overs in a day but that is part and parcel of professional sport.

"They seem to think six weeks at the moment but ever the optimist I hope to be back sooner. The priority is the get back to 100 per cent. I've had numerous injuries before but this is a new one for me."

Willey's injury is also a considerable blow for Yorkshire. He was signed as an eventual replacement for Ryan Sidebottom in the Championship - and has been working closely with him in recent days - but also to supercharge Yorkshire's T20 cricket.

Yorkshire were convinced they had signed a player to sort out their bowling issues at the top and tail of the innings after Willey led England's wickets tally as they reached the final of World Twenty20 in India last month.

He could potentially miss Yorkshire's first four matches, unless he was utilised as a specialist batsman, an unlikely occurrence because of the potential for causing further damage.

"There would have to be a bit of recovery for that to happen," he said, "especially with slogging - which is my style, isn't it - there would have to be some pressure on the abs. We will reassess at the end of next week to see where I am at. If there was a position for me to play as a batter I would be happy to do that."

As debates rage over the future landscape of Twenty20 cricket - it is conceivable, if no more so at this stage, that Yorkshire will have to finish in the top four of the North Group to be assured of a place in a new Premier Division.

Their prospects are further clouded by an injury to Matthew Fisher, the exciting pace prospect, who will also miss the start of the NatWest T20 Blast campaign after failing to recover from hamstring problems.

Fisher, who has suffered two injuries to his left hamstring, was Yorkshire's leading wicket-taker in a dismal Blast campaign last season with 16 wickets from 13 games.

Fisher initially suffered a tweak in Dubai in late March, restricting his participation in the pre-season tour of the Middle East. He suffered a more serious recurrence during a second-team game at Bristol in early April.

With Tim Bresnan also laid low at the start of the season with a calf tear, it is a nervous time for Yorkshire who are desperate to revive their T20 cricket.