Injury has forced Katherine Brunt out of the Women's World T20, in a major blow to England's campaign to add to their World Cup title. Brunt retired from the field after bowling just five deliveries during England's final warm up game against India in Providence on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old had been battling a recurring back injury that flared up just before her selection in September and, such is the all-rounder's importance to the side, the selectors included her in the squad in the hope she would be back to full fitness sometime during the tournament.
But while they were keen to give her every chance of recovering, her discomfort while bowling off a shortened run-up in the match against India was obvious. Brunt was unable to complete her only over and appeared distressed as she left the field.
Scans the following day confirmed another flare-up of the back injury that struck Brunt during the Women's Big Bash League in Australia last year.
Brunt's extensive experience and recent form, not to mention her dual roles in the side as opening bowler and powerful middle order batsman, makes her particularly hard to replace. England have no like-for-like player to bring in and will have to balance the need to go into matches with strengthened batting or an extra bowling option.
Uncapped pair Linsey Smith and Sophia Dunkley are considered England's leading options, with Smith making a strong claim for selection during the warm-up matches.
In calling up Western Storm's Fran Wilson, a member of England's winning World Cup side who has also played 14 T20 internationals, England have chosen to extend their batting options. However Wilson is not expected to be available for England's first match against Sri Lanka in Saint Lucia on Saturday.