YOrKSHIRE batsman Joe Root has been forced to return home from England’s tour of the West Indies with a broken thumb, but has not yet been ruled out of the upcoming World Twenty20.
The 23-year-old was hit on the glove while batting during England’s 25-run victory over the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Wednesday.
An X-ray revealed the full extent of the damage ahead of Sunday’s first T20 game in Bridgetown.
A tweet published through the England and Wales Cricket Board’s official account read: “Joe Root has a fractured thumb and is returning home to see a specialist. Ruled out of West Indies T20’s, World T20 decision not made yet.”
The top-order Yorkshireman is capable of bowling spin and, despite his injury, could feasibly do so in Bangladesh – the host country for the World T20 event that starts later this month – but England face an anxious wait over his fitness nevertheless.
Root suffered the break when taking a hit from the third ball of his innings against the West Indies in Antigua, although he went on to make a century in a fifth-wicket stand of 175 with Jos Buttler.
After the series-clinching victory, England captain Stuart Broad reserved special praise for the batsman, saying: “It was an incredibly brave knock.
“He came off, and his thumb was very ugly.
“Eoin (Morgan) was going to go out after the rain break, but then two minutes before, Joe put his helmet on and stormed out.
“I think it was clear for everybody to see the discomfort he was in.
“To battle through that and go and get a hundred... that’s the sort of commitment and desire you want guys to have playing for England.”
Ian Bell has already been added to England’s T20 squad in Barbados following injuries to batsman Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales, but it remains to be seen whether the ECB will call for further cover as Root returns home.
The West Indies’ batsman Chris Gayle will return from injury, as expected, to face England in three T20 internationals in Barbados.
The destructive opener had to miss the one-day international series defeat in Antigua, because of soreness in his hip.
But the indications were always strong that he would be back in time for the three short-format matches at the Kensington Oval, the first on Sunday, before both countries head east for the ICC World Twenty20.
The West Indies Cricket Board confirmed their 15-man squad yesterday to face England, and unsurprisingly it is identical to the one selected by the reigning champions for the World Twenty20.