Rory Burns will miss England’s tour of Sri Lanka in March after the opener was ruled out for up to four months following surgery on his left ankle.
Burns sustained ruptured ligaments on the eve of the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town while playing football with his teammates on the Newlands outfield before training.
The embarrassing incident ruled the team’s most experienced top-order batsman out of the rest of the series and led to the banning of football for the foreseeable future by the England hierarchy.
After flying home last weekend, the Surrey batsman had surgery to repair the damage to his ankle on Monday and is not expected to return to full fitness until the early stages of the County Championship campaign in April.
That will force the 29-year-old batsman, who is averaging 55 in Test cricket this winter, out of the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka that begins on 7 March. An England statement confirmed: “Rory Burns has undergone successful surgery on ruptured ligaments in his left ankle. Surgery took place in London on Monday afternoon. The Surrey captain is expected to be out of action for up to four months.
“He will miss England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka in March and is aiming to return to play with Surrey in the County Championship at the beginning of the 2020 season in April.”
The absence of Burns in Sri Lanka is likely to offer a route back into the England squad for Keaton Jennings, whose poor form led to him being dropped following England’s tour of the West Indies early last year.
Although Jennings averages only 25 across the 17 Tests he has played, his good record in Asia – including his only two Test centuries, against India in Mumbai in 2016 and Sri Lanka in Galle last winter – means he could come into the squad for Sri Lanka and potentially open alongside Dominic Sibley ahead of Zak Crawley.