The fast bowler was forced to abort his run-up before ground staff rushed to fix the broken cover.
David Willey can count himself extremely fortunate not to suffer a serious injury as he was involved in a bizarre incident during Sunday’s one-off T20 against Pakistan in Cardiff. Having lost the toss and being made to bowl, Eoin Morgan’s side faced an early disruption as Willey came in to bowl his second over in the match. Willey was just about to reach the delivery crease when the ground gave way beneath him and a huge hole appeared in the Sophia Gardens turf.
The left-arm fast bowler had almost reached his delivery stride when all of a sudden he had to pull away, after being knocked off balance when his left foot stomped down and smashed a rather poorly placed drain cover. It was called a dead ball by the umpire and there was a delay to proceedings as the ground staff had to come out and repair the cover, with another plastic square covered by artificial turf eventually put in place.
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Luckily for the Yorkshire fast bowler, he didn’t twist his knee or tweak any ligaments and was able to escape unharmed. With the World Cup just a few weeks away, an ankle or a knee damage would have curtailed the 29-year-old’s chances of a maiden World Cup appearance. Willey was able to see the funnier side of the incident, but fans were left equally bewildered and unhappy at how easily such a mishap was allowed to occur at the Sophia Gardens.
After the delay in finding and fitting a new cover, it was Willey’s fellow bowler, Jofra Archer, who stood out as Pakistan scored 173-6 from their 20 overs. Babar Azam (65) and Haris Sohail (50) had put the tourists in a promising position before Archer dismissed the latter and ran out the former in one over.
The Sussex bowler, who is making a late attempt to secure a place in the World Cup squad, eventually finished with figures of 2-29 but showed plenty of the potential that has got England selectors so excited. Tom Curran and Chris Jordan also picked up a wicket each to restrict Pakistan to a fairly modest total. England went on to win the one-off match by seven wickets, chasing down their target of 174 with four balls to spare.