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T20 World Cup: How will Reece Topley's absence impact England's chances

England have suffered a pre-T20 World Cup setback with star seamer Reece Topley ruled out of the tournament through injury, but how much of a blow is that to the prospects of Jos Buttler's side?

Topley's stop-start international career, ravaged by multiple back injuries, had finally taken off in 2021 with the left-arm quick becoming a mainstay of England's white-ball attack.

But he rolled his left ankle at training on Monday and scans revealed ligament damage which is expected to keep him out until early next year.

Fellow left-armer Tymal Mills, who had been in Australia as a travelling reserve and has starred at IPL and international level, has been called up and is a top-class short-format bowler.

But does the loss of Topley, just a few days before England's opening game against Afghanistan, impact on England's chances of going all the way.

What:T20 World Cup 2022
Where:Australia
When: 16th October – 13th November
How to watch:Sky Sports & bet365 Live Stream
Odds:Australia 11/4, England 11/4, India 7/2, South Africa 15/2, Pakistan 9/1, New Zealand 9/1

Topley heartache after bumper year

There will be no panic in the England camp at the loss of one player, just as there was no wailing and gnashing of teeth when Jonny Bairstow was ruled out through injury.

England, 11/4 to win the tournament, are awash with classy, short-format operators and just as Bairstow has been replaced so, too, has Reece Topley with Tymal Mills promoted to the group.

But it's heartbreaking for Topley and you only need to have a look at the 28-year-old's stats during 2021 to realise his absence is a major blow, doubly so given the timing so soon before England's Group 1 opener against Afghanistan in Perth with battle-plans already finalised - and Topley would have been at the heart of them.

He is their leading wicket-taker in men's T20Is in 2022 with 17 wickets at an economy rate of below eight. He's a threat with the new ball in hand during the power play and equally effective in the death overs.

Mills in the mix with big-game pedigree

It's not quite like-for-like – Topley is the best part of 6ft 8in tall, seven inches taller than Tymal Mills, and therefore a very different proposition for batters.

But Mills, another who can bowl at either end of the innings, is another left-arm option for Buttler and is a big-game player himself.

He was the second-most expensive overseas player in the 2017 IPL, starred at last year's T20 World Cup with seven wickets in the four games he played, though he's also under-cooked having been out after toe surgery. His last T20I was in July against India.

You'd imagine he's up to speed, you'll be certain he's bought in to what England are all about it, and if called upon he can be relied upon.

But he's also one of three left-armers in the squad with Sam Curran pretty much nailed down for the No.7 berth.

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Five into three or four won't go

What it means is there are effectively five seamers – Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and left-armers David Willey and now Mills – looking to fill three spaces if Adil Rashid plays, four if the selectors fancy an all-seam attack plus Moeen Ali and/or Liam Livingstone.

Wood, plagued by injuries, is their go-to hitman, the quickest of the lot and 40/1 to be the tournament's top wicket-taker, a big price to reflect the fact he almost certainly won't play every game.

Wood is playing his way back top top-level form and fitness and England are cleverly managing his work-load, a policy that looks even wiser given the exit of Topley from the permutations.

They won't want to take any risks with Wood while Woakes has also been an inspired recall as evidenced by his two wickets in the final T20 against Australia in Canberra last Friday.

He, of course, had been overlooked for six years before he was recalled ahead of last year's T20 World Cup in the UAE, where he took six power play wickets at an average of 13 and now, if fit, he looks almost un-droppable.

Jordan, Willey and Mills will, therefore, and on the basis that everyone else stays healthy, be competing for the one slot, much of which will depend on the wickets they play on and the righthand-lefthand make-ups of the opponent they face.

Topley will be a miss, that's for sure, but there is now such a reservoir of talent pouring through the England T20 ranks that it really shouldn't make much difference. That their odds haven't changed despite the news tells you pretty much everything.

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