The incessant, seemingly never-ending rain in the UK has been one of the big talking points during the World Cup. The other is injuries. There were a few risky picks before the World Cup, some of them have worked out well, while others have not. Then, after the tournament started, there have been more injuries, and more than one player has gone home too. The latest to drop out during a match is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, while Jason Roy is out for at least a couple of matches and Eoin Morgan, too, could miss at least one match, and the the list of injured men is only growing longer.
Bhuvneshwar, Roy out of action for a while
Bhuvneshwar had bowled just 16 balls in the showpiece game between India and Pakistan when he pulled up. He looked uncomfortable, did a few stretches, and then walked off not to return. A left hamstring strain has been confirmed, and he will be out for two-to-three matches. It's the left hamstring for Roy too, and the update on that front is that the opening batsman will be out for two games. Morgan's back - he went off with spasms during the West Indies game - is better, though, and that's good news for England.
Dale Steyn was one of those players who came into the World Cup with an injury cloud hovering over him, as was the case with England's Mark Wood and India's Kedar Jadhav. Jadhav has gone fine so far, though he hasn't been called on to do much, and Wood has also recovered well enough to be a big part of England's plans. But Steyn had to leave for home without bowling a single ball in the tournament. The old shoulder injury, which has kept Steyn off the field for long periods in recent months and years, flared up again, and he has since been replaced by Beuran Hendricks.
Like Steyn, veteran Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has also had to fly back after two games. His exit, however, has been mired in controversy. The Afghanistan Cricket Board has sent him home because of a knee injury, but Shahzad has since come out claiming that he was fit, and blamed all sorts of factors for his ouster in favour of Ikram Alikhil.
Bring on the covers
The two other major injuries, which haven't yet led to replacements but back-ups flying out to the UK, involve Australia and India. Marcus Stoinis, the Australia allrounder, picked up a side strain during the game against India, and is still not match fit. Mitchell Marsh has joined the team as cover, which is also the case with Rishabh Pant, who flew across to be stand-by after Shikhar Dhawan suffered a hairline fracture when he was hit on the left thumb while batting in that game against Australia.
Jofra Archer is very quick, and too quick for Hashim Amla, as was evident during the tournament opener between England and South Africa. He copped a nasty-looking blow to the head, and had to go off. Concussion tests were carried out but, with South Africa's chase going off the rails, he returned to bat. The debate on whether he should have returned will likely go on for a long time, but he certainly sat out South Africa's next game, against Bangladesh, because of the injury. He has returned to action since.
Rashid Khan hasn't missed a game for Afghanistan, but there was certainly a question mark over him when he left the field looking dazed ducking into a quick Lockie Ferguson short delivery that didn't bounce as much as Rashid looked like he expected it to. He was treated for concussion since.
… and there are question marks over …
Lungi Ngidi has played a couple of games, against England and Bangladesh, but picked up a left hamstring injury in that second game, and hasn't been seen since. He should be back at some stage. When that will be is uncertain at this stage.
Virat Kohli, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nuwan Pradeep and a few others have copped pretty painful blows during training sessions, while two key Bangladesh players, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, have been grappling with injuries, and Andre Russell, the big-ticket West Indies allrounder, looks like he might break down at any moment, wincing after striking the ball and struggling to stay on his feet on the field, but has managed to carry on, just about.
It's a hectic World Cup schedule, in what is a hectic calendar overall, and it can't be easy. But the World Cup, already hit badly by the weather, will need the top-of-the-line players to stay the course. Somehow.