Cricket sponges are ‘dangerous’ and there ‘only for the money’, says England bowler Reece Topley.
Topley, 28, was part of England’s 15-man squad for the current T20 World Cup before being sent off after tripping over a sponge during a catch-up drill.
The designer ruptured the ligaments in his left ankle and tore the muscles around it, but he is unlikely to require surgery.
“Is it safe? No. Why is it there? Purely for money,” Topley told the Daily Mail.
“It’s not there to enhance the gaming experience or expand the game in any way.”
Topley had worked his way into the team after suffering four back stress fractures in five years and was expected to play a key role with the new ball and on death after impressing over the past six months, taking 14 wickets in 12 games.
“People said it was a freak accident and all I can do is highlight the advert at ankle height right next to where a player is standing throughout a game “, added Topley.
“I don’t think it’s really an abnormal incident.
“It’s happened before and it will probably happen again. People think they’re fun and engaging, but there’s something that doesn’t make it any easier. It can get in the way of you being on your mind.”
Topley explained how his cleats got stuck in the plastic sponge coating and he sat there thinking “I’m done” and that he won’t “be playing for at least a month”.
After the incident, England Tests captain Ben Stokes has been called up the “dumb” sponges and said they “should be looked into”, but white ball captain Jos Buttler said it was an “accident” and “not a big deal”.
Topley said the injury was a “little setback” and “when it heals I’ll be able to get back to bowling in no time”.
However, he said there was “a huge sense of missed opportunity”.
“I don’t think as a bowler you can have a better World Cup to play than this,” he added.
“The wickets have been quite useful and that has almost disappeared from the game.
“I was extremely disgusted. I never doubted that I could contribute to England. I always thought I was worth a place in the team, but I just had to wait for an opportunity. When that opportunity came up, I felt I grabbed it and then it happened.”
However, he says his disappointment will be ‘a bit easier if the boys win the trophy’ as that would mean it ‘hasn’t been missed’.
England are aiming to become two-time world champions and a win over Sri Lanka in their final Super 12 game on Saturday should see them through to the semi-finals.