Woakes side strain gives England a worry

Eoin Morgan, the England captain, admits that his satisfaction at an otherwise emphatic victory over Bangladesh in the opening match of the Champions Trophy has been tempered by a side strain sustained by Chris Woakes, which threatens to rule him out for the rest of the tournament.

Woakes had come into the match nursing a tight quad that led to his omission from the final two matches of England's recent ODI series against South Africa, but he looked in fine fettle as he opened the campaign with a maiden to Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal.

However, he bowled just one more over in his spell before leaving the field for treatment. He will undergo a scan on his left side this evening, but Morgan is already braced for bad news from England's medical team.

"He's obviously been very impressive for us over the last couple of years, and a mainstay, a very reliable guy," Morgan said. "And it is a worry when he goes off the field and can't come back on and bowl."

Though it is too early to say how the injury will impact on Woakes' involvement either in the remainder of this match, or England's subsequent group games against New Zealand on June 6 and Australia on June 10, side strains are notoriously difficult injuries for fast bowlers to shake off.

A typical recovery can take between four and six weeks, especially if the injury involves damage to the intercostal muscles, because even when fully recovered, fast bowlers in particular find it hard to hit the crease with their usual aggression, for fear of suffering a relapse.

Were that the case, it would rule Woakes out of the entire tournament, and leave him in some doubt for the start of England's Test series against South Africa as well, which gets underway at Lord's on July 6.

"Side strains are a big confidence thing, aren't they?" said Morgan. "Yeah, he would definitely be a loss if he couldn't play."

Morgan denied, however, that Woakes had suffered for being rushed back into action before he was fully recovered from his quad niggle. "He was chomping at the bit to play," he said. "If we rushed him, he might have played the last game of the one-day series but we didn't want to rush him."

Woakes' injury isn't the only issue undermining England's previously settled Champions Trophy squad. Ben Stokes came into the match nursing a knee injury that limited his ability to bowl in the South Africa series - although he showed no signs of discomfort in his seven overs today - while Joe Root also picked up a calf injury in the course of his match-winning 133 not out.

"Joe is all right," Morgan said. "He wasn't in extreme pain. It was manageable, so given that we have four days between now and the next game, hopefully he'll rest up well and be fully fit."

The size of England's victory masked a few concerns beyond the fitness issues. Jason Roy endured another day to forget, making just 1 from 7 balls to extend his fallow run at the top of the order, while Jake Ball, surprisingly included in place of the legspinner Adil Rashid, struggled for consistency as his ten overs were dispatched for 82 runs.

However, Morgan reiterated his unequivocal support for Roy, adding that he had been unlucky to fall to an impressive catch at short backward square leg from Mustafizur Rahman.

"It was quite smart, bowling a slower bowl from the opening bowler, and brave," Morgan said. "It was a big gamble. But that sort of stuff can happen. You can get out in that sort of fashion when you're short on runs. But yeah, certainly we believe in him."

On the subject of Rashid's omission - which seemed to go against the team ethos of selection continuity - Morgan insisted there were two separate issues to consider.

"We felt Bangladesh probably would have preferred to play against a lot more spin, as opposed to four quicks, and obviously Ben [Stokes]. So that contributed to how we wanted to balance the side and how we saw them playing. Their top three batters are lefties, and the possibility of getting Joe [Root] or Mo [Ali] on early was an option.

"With the batting, obviously you can't ask guys to go out and play positive cricket and whack it everywhere - there's an element, a high-risk element - and then drop them as soon as they are lacking runs. On previous teams, that has happened and we don't want it to happen.

"We want to reinforce confidence so the guys can go out and we can make 300 an easy score to get, by playing real positive cricket. And contributing to that, both as a captain and coach, and selectors, by backing your own players up."