England have drafted Tymal Mills
into their T20 World Cup squad after Reece Topley
was ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury.
On Tuesday, the ECB said that Topley had "rolled his ankle" after standing on a boundary cushion during a fielding drill ahead of their final warm-up match against Pakistan in Brisbane the day before. The prognosis was initially hopeful ahead of England's tournament opener against Afghanistan on Saturday in Perth, but the injury is worse than expected and Topley has sustained ligament damage.
Topley will fly home to England, where he will undergo surgery on the injury. His absence is a significant blow for England: he is their leading wicket-taker in men's T20Is in 2022 and can bowl at the death as well as providing an attacking new-ball option in the powerplay.
"Devastated," Topley wrote on Instagram, "but wishing the boys the best of luck and backing them to put in an amazing performance at this World Cup! Thanks for all the messages, I feel so lucky to have people sending so many messages of good wishes."
As ESPNcricinfo revealed, Mills has beaten fellow fast-bowling reserve Richard Gleeson
to the call-up on account of his previous tournament experience. He performed well at last year's Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE, with seven wickets at 15.42
and an economy rate of 8.00 in the four games he played. His participation in that tournament was cut short by a thigh injury and, as it happens, Topley was the one to replace him in that 15-man squad.
Mills also has a bank of experience in Australian conditions, with previous Big Bash League stints for Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers. He offers a valuable option for captain Jos Buttler, with his speed and nous, particularly at the death, having performed the role admirably in the previous T20 World Cup.
However, Mills has not played any cricket since August 10 after an operation to fix an issue with his right big toe that blighted his 2022 summer. The last of his 13 T20I caps came in July, against India at the Ageas Bowl, taking 1 for 35 from three overs. Having tried to manage the toe injury without surgery, a decision was made to operate in the middle of August after his first appearance in the Hundred for Southern Brave against Birmingham Phoenix.
Mills spent the seven-match tour of Pakistan at home getting up to speed before joining the squad in Australia. He has so far participated fully in all net sessions ahead of the tournament. England's next training day is Thursday.
Luke Wood, the Lancashire left-arm seamer who made his international debut in Pakistan last month, has been added to England's touring party as a travelling reserve, cutting short a holiday as a result. The ECB said he would "join the England party in due course".