Jonny Bairstow could miss England game - after injuring himself playing football

England batsman Jonny Bairstow is a doubt for Saturday's fourth one-day international against Sri Lanka after twisting his ankle playing football in training.

Jonny Bairstow limps off after injuring himself playing football in Sri Lanka (Picture: AP)

Bairstow suffered the injury in the traditional warm-up kick around and will be assessed by England’s medical staff. It seems unlikely he will be risked if there any concerns, though, with the tourists 2-0 up in the series and a proven replacement opener on hand in the form of Alex Hales.

Bairstow, who is in the squad for the forthcoming Test series, has not yet been sent for a scan but questions about the wisdom of playing football before games and net sessions are sure to resurface.

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The players are known to be strongly in favour of the workout and have even awarded each other ‘fantasy football’ price tags on the current trip.

England's Jonny Bairstow kicks a soccer ball during a practice session ahead of their fourth one-day international cricket match with Sri Lanka in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

But the presence of the recalled Joe Denly in the squad offers a reminder that it was not always so welcome. He suffered a knee injury after a challenge from team-mate Owais Shah in 2009 and football was banned for a time by then coach Andy Flower.

Speaking, with an unintended prescience earlier this week, Denly said: “A few of the lads were saying I ruined their football - the best part of the day as they say.

“Thankfully it is back in now and hopefully no more injuries.”