England bowler Reece Topley has been ruled out of the Men’s T20 World Cup with an ankle injury, three days before his side’s opening match on Saturday.
Topley rolled his left ankle at training on Monday and scans have revealed ligament damage which will likely keep him out until early 2023.
Fellow left-armer Tymal Mills has been called up as Topley’s replacement.
The loss of Topley is a serious blow to England’s World Cup hopes, given the 28-year-old’s fine form this year.
He sustained the injury when he stepped on the boundary sponge during a fielding drill at training on Monday.
It is a cruel disappointment for Topley, who has overcome serious setbacks in recent years.
He had four back stress fractures in five years, mostly recently in 2018, which led him to consider retirement.
But after regaining his place he has become a key player in England’s white-ball sides and this year took his best figures for England in both T20 and one-day international cricket - 3-22, and an England record 6-24 - against India in the summer.
He had become a crucial part of England’s bowling attack, operating effectively with the new ball and during the death overs.
England also lost batter Jonny Bairstow to a freak leg injury before the tournament, while fast bowler Jofra Archer is a long-term injury absentee.
However, Jos Buttler’s side have had an encouraging build-up to the tournament after a 4-3 series win in Pakistan and a 2-0 victory over hosts and defending champions Australia.
Mills, who has not played since August because of a toe injury, has been preferred to right-arm seamer Richard Gleeson, the other pace bowler in Australia as one of England’s travelling reserves.
Lancashire left-arm seamer Luke Wood, who made his England debut against Pakistan in September, will travel to join the reserve list.
Topley is not expected to have an operation but will undergo further assessment on his return to the UK.
England face Afghanistan in Perth at 12:00 BST on Saturday.