- Reece Topley will play in the World Cup opener against New Zealand on Thursday
- The England bowler missed out on T20 World Cup glory after a freak injury
- He suffered a serious ankle injury when he stepped on the ‘Toblerone’ border marker
Reece Topley cannot erase the memory of the routine fielding session that brought a premature and crashing end to his last World Cup.
“I replay it in my head and think about letting go of the catch instead of going for it. Things would have been very different if I had done that,” Topley tells Mail Sport of the incident during England training in Brisbane last year that left his T20 World Cup dream in tatters.
‘Even now I think, “If I hadn’t injured my ankle, maybe I wouldn’t have done my shoulder later.” It’s like the butterfly effect.
‘I think: ‘If I had let go of that catch, I would have played in the first match of the World Cup against Afghanistan a few days later.’ Instead, I was watching from the sidelines.”
Topley, 29, was watching because he had severely torn ligaments and damaged muscles around his left ankle as he tried to catch when he stepped on one of the eight-inch high foam ‘Toblerone’ boundary markers that were a feature of the T20 World. Cup in Australia.
Reece Topley is fully fit after recovering from a serious ankle injury and dislocated shoulder
The England bowler missed out on T20 World Cup glory after a freak injury
“I actually wish I hadn’t stayed to watch that first game and gone straight home because it was tough,” Topley told Mail Sport.
‘Thinking about it now brings back memories of eventually traveling home alone with my leg in a plastic boot. That is my memory of the World Cup. I have nothing else.
“It was at the beginning of the World Cup and I was bowling well. When I got back to London I was walking around the boot and people recognized me.
“They said, ‘We miss you,’ and that was nice of them, but I knew we wouldn’t do that because our hitters can chase anything.”
Topley was right to think England would do just fine without him. They won that World Cup in Melbourne, beating Pakistan in the final, with the left-arm seamer who would lead their attack watching on TV at home in London.
It was said at the time that Topley, as an original team member, would receive a World Cup winners medal. But he doesn’t even have that small consolation prize. “No, I never got a medal,” he says. “I’m not really worried about that because I’ve never played a game before.” No medal and no regrets, it seems, from governing body ICC, whose ad-laden boundary markers were shown to be dangerous by Topley’s accident.
“There was no apology from the ICC,” he said. “I don’t think I was the only player injured by one of those sponge boundary markers, so hopefully that has been looked into.
‘Otherwise they should. It wasn’t a freak incident. It was a matter of health and safety.
“People say they like seeing great border stops, but when these marks are halfway up your shin they become harder and the point of making them soft is defeated because they crumble.”
Now it’s time to put the bad memories to rest as Topley, plagued earlier in his career by back injuries that almost forced him out of the game, is fully fit after recovering from both that serious ankle injury and the dislocated shoulder that was also an untimely injury brought with it. end of his IPL.
Topley is in line to play in the 50-over World Cup opener against New Zealand on Thursday
Topley is now in India with England and has every chance of playing in their 50-over World Cup opener against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
“I’ve stepped away from it and there’s another World Cup to prepare for and hopefully I’ll play a bigger role in that,” he says.
The next seven weeks in India offer a bowler highly regarded by England captain Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott the chance for a happy ending to what has been a ‘rug being pulled under my feet’ story for the past year.
“It would be huge to become a World Cup winner,” says Topley.