Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Fisher ruled out for England with fractures | England cricket team

England’s red-ball reset has been hit with a double setback with news that Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Fisher have been ruled out for the remainder of the season with stress fractures of the back.

Mahmood had missed Lancashire’s past three County Championship fixtures, and after complaining of back pain was he sent for scans which confirmed a fracture. Fisher has played once since he made his Test debut alongside Mahmood in England’s tour of the West Indies in March with his Yorkshire coach, Ottis Gibson, describing his problem as “not a stress fracture, a stress reaction”. That diagnosis has now changed.

With England’s new red-ball coach, Brendon McCullum, hoping to name a squad for next month’s first Test against New Zealand on Wednesday morning, the selectors’ task becomes ever more complicated as the list of injured bowlers continues to lengthen.

Other players McCullum cannot call on include: Jofra Archer, who has not played a first‑class game for more than a year because of elbow injuries; Mark Wood, who hopes to return from his own elbow issue in the next few weeks; and Olly Stone, who has not played first-class cricket since sustaining his own stress fracture of the back last summer. Ollie Robinson, after a string of injuries, had food poisoning during Sussex’s draw with Leicestershire. Surrey’s Sam Curran has publicly targeted the New Zealand series for his international comeback after a long-term back injury, but has so far bowled just 17 overs in four County Championship appearances.

The Guardian revealed last week that Durham’s Matthew Potts was among those pushing for a call-up to McCullum’s first squad. The new England captain, Ben Stokes, had already revealed Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, both controversially rested for the trip to the Caribbean, were certain to return.

Meanwhile the England and Wales Cricket Board is expected to appoint Matthew Mott as England’s white‑ball coach this week, the 48-year-old Australian having overtaken Paul Collingwood in the race for the role following interviews last week.

Mott has led the Australia women’s team through a period of global domination, winning successive Twenty20 World Cups, an ODI World Cup and four consecutive Ashes series. He also worked with McCullum during a short spell as assistant coach in the Indian Premier League at Kolkata Knight Riders, where the New Zealander was a player. He previously worked in Britain as head of elite performance at Glamorgan for three years, ending in 2013. The outcome of the recruitment process is likely to be revealed within the next 48 hours.

Three players from the England women’s side – Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross and Sophia Dunkley – have been signed as overseas players for the forthcoming Women’s T20 Challenge in India. The three-team tournament, a bridging event to the planned women’s Indian Premier League next year, takes place on 23-28 May in Pune.

Ecclestone, the world’s No 1 T20 bowler, has been drafted by Supernovas, the fast bowler Cross will play for Velocity and the batter Dunkley will represent Trailblazers.

England Women restart their international campaign in June, when South Africa are the opposition for one Test, three ODIs and three T20s.

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