Reece Topley, England, T20 cricket (Getty Images)


England seamer Reece Topley thinks the cricket boundary sponges at the T20 World Cup are “unsafe” and there “purely for money”.

The 28-year-old was in England’s squad for the T20 World Cup, but was forced to withdraw after he ruptured ligaments in his left ankle when he tripped on a sponge during a catching drill at The Gabba.

“Is it safe? No. Why is it there? Purley for money. It’s not there to enhance the playing experience or broaden the game in any way,” he told the Daily Mail.

Topley, who was replaced by Tymal Mills in the squad, has been troubled with injuries throughout his career. He suffered four stress fractures to his back in five years but was expected to play an important part for England at the World Cup, after taking 14 wickets in 12 games this year.

“People have said it’s a freak accident and all I can do is point out the ankle-high boundary advertising right next to where a player stands throughout a game,” Topley added.

“I don’t think that really is a freak incident.

“It’s happened before and it will probably happen again. People think they are fun and engaging but there’s something there that doesn’t facilitate anything. It can hinder you by being in your mind.”

After the incident, Test captain Ben Stokes described the ‘toblerones’ as “stupid”, but white-ball captain Jos Buttler said it was an “accident”.

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Sky Sports Cricket’s Ian Ward says that the loss of Reece Topley to injury is a ‘big blow for England’ – but that they have a strong replacement in Tymal Mills.

World Cup is ‘missed opportunity’

Topley said his studs got stuck in the plastic coating of the sponge and thought he wouldn’t play for “at least a month”.

However, he said the injury is a “minor” setback, and the ankle won’t require surgery, adding that he hopes to be back bowling “in no time” but feels a “huge sense of an opportunity missed” to not play in Australia.

“I don’t think as a bowler, you could have a better World Cup to play in than this one,” he added.

“The wickets have been pretty helpful and that’s almost gone out of the game.

“I was extremely gutted. I never doubted I could contribute to England. I always thought I was worth a place in the squad, but I just had to wait to get an opportunity. When that opportunity arose I felt I’d taken it and then this happened.”

England are aiming to lift the T20 World Cup for the second time, and a win over Sri Lanka in their final group game on Saturday should be enough to progress to the semi-finals.

Watch England’s final group match against Sri Lanka live on Sky Sports Main Event and Cricket from 8am on Saturday.





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