England's preparations for next month's Test series against New Zealand have suffered a potential setback after Liam Livingstone, the uncapped Lancashire batsman, was ruled out of the remainder of the Lions tour of West Indies due to an injury to his left ankle.
Livingstone, who was handed a maiden call-up to the Test squad in the wake of England's disappointing Ashes campaign, suffered the injury during practice and will now return home from the Caribbean for further assessment and treatment. He will miss the third unofficial Test against West Indies A that starts in Antigua on Monday.
According to the ECB, the injury is not thought to be serious, but it is untimely nonetheless. In his absence, England Lions face an extra hurdle in their bid for a pride-salvaging victory in their three-Test series, having gone 2-0 down with an innings-and-17-run drubbing in the second match in Jamaica last week.
Livingstone's own form in the series to date has been hit and miss, with 70 runs in four innings, although he did top-score with 48 in England's second innings of the second match at Sabina Park. He had already been ruled out of next month's one-day leg of the Lions tour, due to his call-up to the senior squad.
He now has just over a fortnight to regain sufficient fitness to confirm his place on the New Zealand tour, with England's one-off first-class warm-up taking place at Hamilton on March 14-17.
The first of England's two Tests then takes place, with a pink ball under floodlights, in Auckland on March 22-26, before the tour concludes in Christchurch on March 30-April 3.
Livingstone, Lancashire's captain, was the solitary change to England's 16-man Test squad in the wake of the 4-0 Ashes defeat, with Yorkshire's Gary Ballance making way. He made his case for a call-up with 803 runs at 47.24 in last season's County Championship, and also impressed on the Lions tour to Australia before Christmas.
His maiden stab at international cricket, however, was less auspicious. He made scores of 16 and 0 in two T20I outings against South Africa at Taunton and Cardiff last June.