England's Rory Burns quits football until cricket career is over

Having sustained an ankle injury while playing football on England's tour of South Africa, Rory Burns has hung up his boots.

England cricketer Rory Burns playing football.

England cricketer Rory Burns playing football.   -  Getty Images

England opener Rory Burns will not play football again until his days as a professional cricketer are over.

Burns sustained ligament damage in his left ankle during a kickabout with team-mates ahead of the second Test against South Africa in January and was forced to undergo surgery.

The blow came as the left-hander was proving himself a reliable source of runs at the top of the order.

After claiming his maiden Test ton against Australia in August, Burns reached triple figures for the second time in New Zealand at the start of December. He then top-scored for England with 84 in the second innings of a 107-run defeat to South Africa in the Boxing Day Test in Johannesburg.

The incident prior to the next Test cost Burns, who faces a race to be fit for the start of the domestic season, a place on the tour of Sri Lanka in March and led to England removing football as a warm-up activity, with county sides expected to follow suit.

"It's taken four months out of a career and the stage I had got myself to where I was playing quite nicely," said Burns.

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"It was an avoidable setback and when you get something that's avoidable like that you probably re-evaluate whether you want to waste your time rehabbing four months in a gym or being on a plane to Sri Lanka.

"So while I am still a professional cricketer, I probably won't play football again."

He added: "It's probably taken something like this to re-evaluate it; something like this to put it into perspective. It shows what the downsides of football are, I suppose. There are obviously a lot of plus points to football but I don't think I will be playing it any time again soon.

"It was a bit freakish. Most people roll their ankle on the outside; I did going over to the inside. I think my studs got caught in the floor. But if that's the catalyst to put things right and maybe say you don't need it and keep the boys on the park, it's probably a good thing in a weird way.

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"If none of those guys get injured moving forward because football has been moved out of it then I think that's a positive thing for English cricket."

Burns has amassed 979 runs in his 15 Test appearances and is hopeful it will not take him long to get back to his previous level.

"I know what I need to do. You get judged on your output, so I need to get back for the start of the season, score runs for Surrey, tick all my captaincy boxes there and that will lead to hopefully getting my chance back in the Test arena," he said.

"You're never as good as you think you are when you're doing well and you're never as bad as you think you are when you're not.

"You're always somewhere in the middle and you just bounce along. It's remembering that. Sticking to the fundamentals of what works for you."

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