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Cricket World Cup - England hit by Yardy withdrawal

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 quarter-final: Sri Lanka v England
Venue: Colombo Date: Saturday, 26 March (0900 GMT)
Coverage: Highlights on BBC Two (see listings), Red Button & online at 2200 GMT (UK only); live Test Match Special commentary (BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online); text commentary online and mobiles; live on Sky Sports


Michael Yardy
Yardy has played 28 one-day internationals for England

England all-rounder Michael Yardy has flown home from the World Cup because he is suffering from depression.

"Leaving at this stage of the World Cup campaign was a very difficult decision to make," the 30-year-old said.

"But I felt it was the only sensible option for me and I wanted to be honest about the reason behind that decision."

England have been allowed to call up Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid to replace Yardy, and are waiting on news of pace bowler Tim Bresnan's injury.

Bresnan has a calf problem but team management hope he will be fit for Sunday's quarter-final against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

The Yorkshireman, 26, tore the same muscle in his right leg during the tour to Australia and returned home early, missing five matches in the one-day international series that followed the Ashes Tests.

He is England's leading seam bowler at the World Cup, having taken nine wickets including a career-best 5-48 in the tied group game with India, and the results of a scan on his leg will be revealed on Thursday.

But news of Yardy's departure will come as an even greater shock to England supporters who are hoping to see the team lift the World Cup for the first time.

An England and Wales Cricket Board statement said the decision had been taken "in close consultation" with the England medical team and that he had been managing the illness "for a prolonged period of time".

Team-mate Ravi Bopara revealed that he had not been aware of Yardy's struggle to play on with the problem.

Bopara noticed change in Yardy

"It was a little bit of a surprise to find out he had left this morning but these things happen, we have seen them happen before," Bopara told Test Match Special.

"I noticed he wasn't quite the normal Michael Yardy, normally he pops into my room for a game of Fifa [video game] and we have a dig at each other.

"There is fierce competition between me and him but he hasn't been popping in for the last few days."

Bopara believes the decision was the right one for both Yardy and England's World Cup campaign.

"You have got to be honest and you have to let it out otherwise it eats you up inside," he added.

"He has done a good thing for the team because if it affects his cricket, it affects the team.

"Sometimes you just need the right people, which for him is his family.

"He misses them and I think that is what has got him down in the end and I wish him all the best and hope he is back to normal and smiling again."

England have already had to make three changes to their original squad with Eoin Morgan, Chris Tremlett and Jade Dernbach drafted in for Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Ajmal Shahzad, who are all injured.

Paul Collingwood, meanwhile, faces knee surgery to deal with some floating cartilage but the ECB says surgery will be delayed until after the World Cup.

Sussex captain Yardy, who has played 28 one-day internationals but sat out the last two World Cup games against Bangladesh and West Indies, is the second England player to return home from a tour in similar circumstances in recent years.

Opening batsman Marcus Trescothick quit the 2006-07 Ashes tour to Australia because of what was described at the time as a "stress-related illness" and announced his retirement from international cricket in 2008.

Trescothick, the current captain of county club Somerset, later wrote an award-winning autobiography in which he revealed the full extent of his battle against depression.

Mark Robinson, Sussex's Professional Cricket Manager, said they were "proud" and very supportive of Yardy's decision to "go public" about why he was leaving the World Cup.

Robinson added: "He's always been a person admired for his utmost honesty and integrity, and his courage in dealing with this issue emphasises that. As captain and one of our leading players, we'll give him all the time and all the support necessary so that he can continue to lead this club forward.

"As a club, we request that everybody, including both supporters and the media, respects his privacy as he looks to spend some time with his family, having been away for five months.

"In due course, Michael will make a statement and in the meantime the club, its members and supporters wish him a speedy recovery."

The former England captain Michael Vaughan was Trescothick's captain when he quit the tour of India to return home and has every sympathy with Yardy's situation.

"It can never be an easy decision to leave a World Cup so he's clearly got himself into such a state and has been struggling for a period of time to come to this decision," Vaughan said.

"My support is completely with him. The support network that Marcus Trescothick got - I'm sure will be exactly the same with Michael Yardy.

"It must have been a tough decision to make but I'm sure that everyone around the ECB, the PCA, all the players and his family and friends will give him all the support he needs to help him come through this," he added.

However, England batting legend Geoff Boycott, like Vaughan working for the BBC's TMS at the World Cup, was less sympathetic to Yardy's plight.

"I'm no doctor, I don't understand about depression and I can't comment on it. I certainly wouldn't be nasty about it because I don't know. I've never been in that position.

"If there's any blame attached it's partly to the selectors who have done an excellent job on picking the Ashes side but I'm sorry, [Yardy] is not good enough at this level.

"For me, he was always going to be a liability or a poor choice at international level out here."

In Yardy's absence, England will face co-hosts Sri Lanka on Saturday, with a semi-final against South Africa or New Zealand to follow three days later, also in Colombo, if they are successful. The World Cup final takes place in Mumbai on 2 April.



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see also
Vaughan on Yardy
24 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Collingwood to have knee surgery
23 Mar 11 |  England
England 'do not fear Sri Lanka'
22 Mar 11 |  England
England face tough Sri Lanka test
20 Mar 11 |  England
SA victory puts England through
19 Mar 11 |  Cricket
England call up bowler Dernbach
18 Mar 11 |  England
Shahzad to miss rest of World Cup
17 Mar 11 |  England
England win keeps Cup hopes alive
17 Mar 11 |  England
Injury forces Bresnan to fly home
23 Jan 11 |  England
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket


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