Olly Stone’s faint Ashes hopes rest on outcome of scan on knee injury

Olly Stone’s faint Ashes hopes rest on outcome of scan on knee injury

Olly Stone’s faint hopes of featuring for England in this summer’s Ashes might rest on the outcome of a scan on Monday to determine the severity of his latest injury.

Stone was ruled out of the early part of the series because of a hamstring problem and he bowled just three balls on his comeback for Nottinghamshire in the Vitality Blast on Friday before limping off.

The PA news agency understands Stone felt a twinge at the back of his knee on the same leg as the hamstring complaint, prompting him to exercise caution in Nottinghamshire’s loss to Birmingham Bears.

Olly Stone has taken 10 wickets in three Tests (Mike Egerton/PA)
Olly Stone has taken 10 wickets in three Tests (Mike Egerton/PA)

The results of Monday’s assessment will shed some light on the extent of the issue – and whether England will be deprived of another fast bowler in their bid to reclaim the urn from their arch rivals.

England wanted plenty of options with the Tests coming thick and fast but Stone’s lack of match sharpness must also be a considerable factor, even if the 29-year-old’s fresh knock is not serious.

While Stone has played just three Tests, the last in June 2021, his ability to consistently hit speeds of 90mph was recognised earlier this year by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Rob Key.

England’s other express pace options have also not featured in the first two Tests against Australia, with Jofra Archer sidelined for the summer although Mark Wood could return at Headingley next week.

Stone has had a luckless run with injuries that have limited him to just 46 first-class matches since June 2012, including four stress fractures of the back – the most recent led to surgery to reinforce his lower spine with two metal screws in a bid to improve his prospects of playing more Tests.

Stone has had a luckless run with injuries (Mike Egerton/PA)
Stone has had a luckless run with injuries (Mike Egerton/PA)

He made an impact in four ODIs and a T20 over the winter after returning from a broken finger last summer – and could be in contention as England defend their World Cup in India later this year.

Stone was an unused squad member during England’s Test tour of New Zealand in February before taking six wickets in two matches for Nottinghamshire in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

Injury struck in early May against Lancashire but despite being in obvious discomfort, Stone hobbled to the crease as last man and kept out the last four legal deliveries of the Division One match to help Nottinghamshire salvage a draw.

The 29-year-old took a fine catch against the Bears as he came back for Nottinghamshire but pulling up midway through his first over meant an early exit from the match.