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England call up Foakes to replace injured Billings

The Kent player requires surgery on his dislocated shoulder.

Ben Foakes has been called up by England after an injury to Sam Billings (Mike Egerton/PA)
Ben Foakes has been called up by England after an injury to Sam Billings (Mike Egerton/PA)

Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes is in line to make his white-ball debut for England after Kent’s Sam Billings was sidelined by a dislocated shoulder which will require surgery.

Billings was due to play in the one-day international against Ireland on May 3 and the T20 against Pakistan on May 5 but was hurt in Kent’s Royal London One-Day Cup match against Glamorgan on Thursday, with Foakes called up in his place.

Kent announced on Friday that Billings would require surgery and will be sidelined for between three and five months, which would rule him out of the World Cup.

“Sam has seen a specialist this morning where he underwent a scan to assess the extent of his injury,” Ken director of cricket Paul Downton said. “The scan highlighted significant damage to his shoulder, meaning he will require surgical intervention.

“This surgery has been scheduled for next week and it is anticipated that he will be back to fitness within three to five months.

“I know I speak for everyone at Kent Cricket when I say we really feel for Sam. To have picked up this kind of injury ahead of what was set to be an exciting summer is tough.

“However, I have no doubt that his dedicated professionalism and strong mindset, will see him working hard behind the scenes to return back to fitness as soon as possible.”

Though he was not in England’s World Cup squad, Billings had been looking to press his claims for selection as a batting reserve. Instead, his first Kent appearance of the season after a stint in the IPL with the Chennai Super Kings was cut short in the opening over.

He now joins a list of injury concerns for England which also includes Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and Joe Denly. Morgan is dealing with sore shins, while both Roy and Denly have suffered back spasms.

With England’s first-choice wicketkeepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow both being rested, Foakes has got the call after some outstanding recent form in the One-Day Cup.

The call-up gives him another chance to impress after being named Man of the Series in his maiden Test tour of Sri Lanka last year – seizing his chance after an injury sidelined Bairstow.

I know I speak for everyone at Kent Cricket when I say we really feel for Sam Paul Downton

Meanwhile, fellow England international Ollie Pope also needs shoulder surgery.

The Surrey batsman, who has played two Tests, dislocated his shoulder while fielding during the One-Day Cup match with Essex on Tuesday.

A Surrey statement read: “Having since visited a specialist, he has been advised that surgery would be the best course of action.

“It is hoped he will return to first-team cricket towards the back end of the current 2019 domestic season.”

PA

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