Essex seamer Jamie Porter will miss the England Lions tour of Australia after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the back.
The injury was picked up during pre-tour screening, but Porter has not been scrubbed from England’s plans completely and will now spend time with the Pace Programme as he works his way back to fitness with the aim of being available for selection for the tour of West Indies early next year.
Porter was the leading wicket-taker in the County Championship last season with 75 scalps during Essex’s march to the title.
“While it was initially surprising and disappointing for Jamie and for us to discover he has a stress fracture, we have agreed with him and with Essex that this new approach is the best option,” James Whitaker, the national selector, said.
“Spending the first half of the winter on the Pace Programme will allow him to take a break from competitive cricket after two excellent and demanding seasons for Essex, allowing the injury to recover, and for a focus on his rehabilitation.
“We believe that will give him the best chance of being in peak condition for the competitive phase of the Lions winter programme, with four-day and one-day series in the West Indies early next year.”
Posting on Twitter, Porter said: “I’m extremely gutted to be missing Australia but at the same time grateful to the ECB for giving me all the support and allowing me the opportunity to work hard and get myself fit for the West Indies tour which I’m very confident I will do! This is a minor setback and I know I’m going to do everything I possibly can to be fully fit for January!”
His place in the Lions squad goes to Worcestershire’s Josh Tongue who was originally set to be on the Pace Programme.
Tongue, 19, took 47 wickets at 25.78 in the Championship as he played in all 14 of Worcestershire’s matches.
Kevin Shine, the who heads up the Pace Programme, said: “As ever, we’ve worked closely with the players and their counties, and we think this is a good solution.
“Jamie relished his first Lions experience this summer and we’ve agreed with Essex for him to spend a couple of months with the Pace Programme, at the Performance Centre in Loughborough with a warm-weather camp at Desert Springs in Spain, to get him fit and ready to join the Lions in the West Indies after Christmas.
“For Josh, he gets to sample the Ashes atmosphere in Australia, as well as gaining experience of working with the Lions.”