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Steven Finn injury blow gives Plunkett a big chance

By Rory Dollard

England seamer Steven Finn has been ruled out of the remainder of the South Africa tour with a side strain.

Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett, who is currently with the England Lions in the United Arab Emirates, will replace him in the one-day and Twenty20 squads.

Finn suffered the injury during the third Test in Johannesburg, where he will begin his recovery for a week before returning home.

At this stage England are hopeful Finn will be fit for the World Twenty20 in March, though even then he would be short of meaningful white-ball practice.

More immediately, England will choose between Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and Mark Footitt for the fourth Test at Centurion, which starts on Friday.

An England and Wales Cricket Board statement read: "Finn felt discomfort on day two of the third Test and scans revealed a left side strain.

"Finn, who had been selected in both the ODI and T20 squads, will stay in South Africa for a week to begin his rehab before returning to the UK. He is expected to be available for selection for the ICC World T20."

Finn missed England's first series of the winter, against Pakistan in the UAE, with a foot injury and was initially left out of the trip to South Africa. But he recovered ahead of schedule in time for the first Test.

His withdrawal provides another opportunity for Plunkett, who impressed in the T20s against Pakistan and was unfortunate to lose his spot.

"I was disappointed not to be in the squad in the first place, but I came with the Lions determined to play my best," he said.

"I've enjoyed the Lions and hopefully I can play a part in getting this series off to a good start before going to South Africa."

Belfast Telegraph


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