Josh Tongue ruled out of England’s white-ball tour of Caribbean

Josh Tongue has been ruled out of England’s white-ball tour of the Caribbean next month after sustaining an injury during the ongoing England Lions training camp in the United Arab Emirates.
Matthew Potts will replace him for the three-match ODI series, beginning in Antigua on December 3, but no replacement has yet been named for the five T20Is which follow from December 12-21.

The injury is a blow for Tongue, 26, who impressed during his two Test appearances at Lord’s in the 2023 home summer, and had been anticipating a white-ball debut across formats as England seek to rebuild their fortunes after their disappointing World Cup campaign in India.

With his ability to generate awkward bounce at speeds in the region of 90mph, Tongue’s value to the England set-up was confirmed last month when he was handed a lucrative two-year ECB central contract.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo last week, Tongue had stressed his desire to hone his white-ball skills on this Caribbean tour, having so far played just 15 List A and T20 domestic fixtures, as opposed to a total of 50 first-class appearances, 47 of which have come for his former county, Worcestershire.

Injury permitting, Tongue’s next opportunity for England honours could come on the five-Test tour of India, which gets underway in January. “I think my pace will help in subcontinental conditions and I can get the ball to reverse as well and my bouncer tactic, which [Ben] Stokes obviously likes, will benefit the team,” he said prior to the Lions trip.

For Potts, the late call-up is a chance to build on his brief taste of England white-ball action, having been selected for a one-off ODI debut against South Africa in 2022, and two further appearances against Ireland just prior to the World Cup, one of which was washed out.

Like Tongue, Potts was also the recipient of a two-year ECB contract for 2023-24, having impressed with his work ethic during his debut Test summer in 2022. He claimed 20 wickets at 28.00 in five appearances that year, before a further one-off appearance against Ireland at Lord’s this June.

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