Craig Overton forced out of Lions' UAE tour with back injury

Somerset fast-bowler Craig Overton has been forced home from the England Lions tour to the UAE because of a lower back injury.

Overton, who made his Test debut during last winter’s Ashes series, was one of a number of players hoping to use the Lions matches against Pakistan ‘A’ to remind the selectors of their credentials. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old has already returned home to begin treatment with his county, becoming the second player, after Lancashire’s leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, to miss the trip because of injury.

The England Lions medical team said: “Craig developed low back pain whilst bowling in training and scans subsequently revealed that he has sustained a disc injury. In collaboration with Somerset, the decision has been made for Craig to return to the UK for rehabilitation.”

Overton will not be replaced in the squad, who begin the tour with a four-day match against Pakistan ‘A’ starting on November 18. Overton’s brother Jamie, Mark Wood and Jamie Porter will provide the fast-bowling options in the red-ball squad while Overton’s Somerset teammate Lewis Gregory and Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood will join the squad for the white-ball games.

It is the latest blow in a run of poor luck for Overton who has not been part of any England Test squads since new chief selector Ed Smith took over in May. The fast-bowler missed the fourth and fifth Ashes Tests last winter after suffering a cracked rib in the third match in Perth and then missed much of Somerset’s Vitality T20 Blast campaign during the summer with a side strain sustained while playing for the Lions during the tri-series against India ‘A’ and West Indies ‘A’.

This latest setback means Overton will for now remain behind the likes of Porter and Warwickshire’s Olly Stone, who is with Joe Root’s men in Sri Lanka, in the Test match pecking order.

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