Reece Topley admits missing the rest of England’s disastrous Cricket World Cup campaign with a broken finger is ‘S***’ – but seamer vows to become one of the ‘best in the world’ as he targets West Indies tour for comeback

It’s a week after Reece Topley broke his finger fielding during England’s World Cup against South Africa and the 29-year-old is back in the gym in south London.

All the way from Mumbai to Clapham he is confident he won’t dwell too much on another brutal bit of misfortune.

‘It’s a *** feeling. When I got home, a wave of emotions came over me. The last few days have been tough, especially when you see the boys on TV, but what else can I do?’ Topley tells Mail Sport.

‘I’ve moved on. I’m already thinking about getting fit for the West Indies tour in December. It benefits no one to stand still. With this positive approach I will be back in an England shirt sooner.

‘As soon as I broke my finger I was already thinking about what my next four weeks would look like and hopefully that time in the Caribbean will pay off before the next T20 World Cup.

Reece Topley is focusing on a return to cricket in December after suffering a broken finger

“I’ve been unlucky, but I’d rather play the game hard than avoid things,” Topley emphasizes.

Playing hard is what Topley has done since restoring his status as a regular in the England white-ball squad last year.

Since the start of 2022, only Adil Rashid (55) and Sam Curran (45) have taken more wickets than Topley (43) for England in white-ball cricket. Although both have an average of over 30, while Topley has an average of just 26 and has the best pass rate of all.

He took eight wickets in the three World Cup matches he played, making him currently England’s highest wicket-taker in the tournament despite missing three matches. He says his preparation for England’s T20 World Cup defense next year started from the moment he broke his finger at the Wankhede Stadium.

‘There was no point in me staying. I knew immediately that I was done. My finger bent all the way back. I tried to bowl another ball after that and was driven for four,” Topley said.

‘The physio looked at it, but I knew it was broken. It was then a matter of taking loads of anesthesia and tying my finger to the other finger to get me through the overs and do everything I could for the boys,” Topley reveals.

Topley did not play for England between 2016 and 2020 and last year he was ruled out of England’s successful T20 World Cup campaign after twisting his ankle on a boundary post before the tournament. In many ways it was a bittersweet feeling to play for England at a World Cup where Jos Butter’s side simply failed to show up, losing five of their six matches.

‘The way the defeats are happening is really worrying. We didn’t go down the way we wanted to play. This team looks nothing like the outfit fans loved. You either win or you learn in sport and it doesn’t seem like we’ve learned from those big defeats,” Topley said.

“The message was quite clear, but we didn’t go out and do what we were asked to do. It’s not a bad team at all. If you weren’t going to pick this team, who would you pick in their place? They are the best fifteen in the country, but at a World Cup you cannot have so many players who are not in shape.’

As for himself, his own reaction to pushing over a chair and kicking a box as he walked to the locker room after his injury spoke volumes.

‘The frustration came because I knew I was going home. I want to push myself forward and be seen as one of the best in the world, but I have to play to prove that. Over the last few years I feel like I’m in a great place and it shows in my contributions.

‘I’m already looking forward to the T20 World Cup next year. “I want to win a World Cup for England and put myself in that conversation with some of the best bowlers in the world.”

All 11 England sides were at least 30 years old at the time of their defeat to Sri Lanka and with a changing of the guard expected after this tournament, Topley admits he would like even more responsibility.

‘I haven’t really thought about it, but if the side needs to change and people are hanging up their boots, I would like Motty (Matthew Mott) and Jos (Buttler) to give me more responsibility and really take on a leadership role to take. the side,” he says.

‘With someone like Gus (Atkinson), for example. He is a good friend of mine and I like to share everything I know with younger players. Playing in the World Cups for England with one of your best friends is pretty cool and I’d love to bowl for England with Gus for a while.”

With that, Topley’s break from the gym is over and he goes back to work. A trip to California is planned for next week and there is no intention to return anytime soon. England’s first ODI against West Indies in Antigua is in the first week of December.

“Yes, I’ll stay there,” Topley says. “It’s close enough to the Caribbean so damn deal with the jet lag I get when I get back and go back.”