Hampshire Academy left-arm fast bowling prospect Josh Croom will be sidelined for possibly eight weeks after fracturing the third metatarsal in his right foot.

The 18-year old, from Stratford-sub-Castle, near Salisbury,enjoyed a fantastic past winter in Australia at the Darren Lehmann Academy, where he took more than 30 wickets and broke into First Grade cricket in Adelaide. But he now has to wear a size 14 Moon boot for at least the next month.

Croom revealed that he had been in pain since playing for Hampshire Seconds against a combined Kent & Sussex XI at Canterbury last month.

He said: “I can remember the last over of my spell I bowled a ball in which my right (front) foot went into a foot hole awkwardly.

“I felt in discomfort for the remainder of my bowling spell but adrenaline got me through the pain. I can remember being moved to a different fielding position and I was limping.

“Then I played for Hampshire at South Wilts in a friendly and felt fine bowling with the adrenaline kicking in, but was in some discomfort in the field if I was to run after the ball.

“The next day I played for Wiltshire against Oxfordshire and again felt fine bowling with the adrenaline getting me through it - but the moment I started fielding I was in a serious amount of discomfort, so I went to A & E for an X-ray. Initially, they thought it was serious bruising, but a subsequent MRI scan diagnosed the fracture. The injury is an untimely blow for the 6’4” left-arm quick.

“But I’m young and have plenty of time to fully recover. My body took a pounding in Australia, so maybe the rest will do me good.”