Reece Topley completed a remarkable comeback from serious injury when he was named in England’s one-day squad to face Ireland.
It was two years ago on Tuesday that Topley, 26, underwent surgery for a serious back injury but now, four years after he suffered the first of five stress fractures that threatened his career, he is back in the England white-ball picture.
Topley, who joined Surrey ahead of this decimated season, is the surprise name in a 14-man squad lacking multi-format players Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Joe Root and Jofra Archer to play three 50-over games at the Ageas Bowl, starting on Thursday.
There is also a return for Topley’s fellow left-armer David Willey, who has not featured for England since he was dropped from last year’s triumphant World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament to accommodate Archer.
But Sussex’s Phil Salt, who smashed a hundred off 56 balls for the Lions in their warm-up game against Ireland on Sunday, misses out, with England including veterans in James Vince and Joe Denly even though this is the start of another 50-over cycle.
‘We are developing excellent strength in depth in white-ball cricket,’ said England selector James Taylor, who has overseen preparations in the Southampton white-ball bubble.
‘There are a number of players who will feel unlucky to have missed out and that says a lot for how many we’ve got pushing hard.’