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Stokes, Buttler Rested for T20I Series Against Windies

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 21, 2019, 9:31 PM IST
Stokes, Buttler Rested for T20I Series Against Windies

File Image of Ben Stokes (Image: Reuters)

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England have rested Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes for the three-match Twenty20 International series that gets underway on March 5 in St Lucia while hard-hitting batsmen Sam Billings and Dawid Malan have been included in the 14-man squad.

"Sam is a very talented cricketer who hits the ball as hard as anyone," Ed Smith, the national selector said. "But he's been in a position where he's been picked up by franchises but then not always been playing. And he's been in England squads but not always been playing.

"So last summer we took a view that we didn't want him to be in a squad and not playing. So we left him out so he could play for Kent and he captained them to a Lord's final and promotion. He then played both legs of full Lions tours before and after Christmas and I think that will have been a good thing for him. He has considerable ability.

"Dawid would love an England career across all three formats. It's just a question of where the opportunities come and, when he has played T20, he has grabbed his chances."

Jason Roy, who setup England's six-wicket win in the first ODI in Barbados with a swashbuckling 123 at the top of the order will also be absent from the three T20Is as he flies home for the birth of his first child after the final ODI.

There were also murmurs that Stokes and Buttler have been rested from the side keeping in mind their hectic schedule in 2019 which includes the IPL that starts from March 23 and the World Cup followed by the Ashes. Smith, however, strongly refuted claims that he had "favoured franchise cricket over international cricket".

"I have not favoured franchise cricket over international cricket," Smith said. "The contracts that Jos and Ben had with their franchises pre-date my involvement. There were a set of obligations in place and, with a busy year coming up, I've accepted the strong recommendations of the head coach to rest these guys now."

Another key inclusion in the T20 side was that of Joe Root. Smith said there were discussions about resting the Test captain keeping in mind the hectic schedules but insisted that it was Root's decision to play the T20I series.

"Joe is an absolutely critical asset for English cricket in the very big 2019 summer," Smith said. "His form and preparation is essential for England, so we did discuss resting him.

"But he is very keen to play in these games. He feels playing in the white-ball sides offers a different experience to captaining the Test side and he likes that blend."

The first T20I will be played in St. Lucia before the teams travel to Basseterre, in St Kitts for the second and third outings.

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, David Willey, Mark Wood
First Published: February 21, 2019, 6:30 PM IST
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