London: England have rested Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes ahead of their upcoming three-match T20I series against West Indies.
The decision was taken after considering the “busy year coming up” for the two players that includes World Cup, Ashes series and Indian Premier League, beginning March 23. England’s national selector insisted that resting Buttler and Stokes should not be considered as a case of prioritising franchise cricket over national duty.
“I have not favoured franchise cricket over international cricket. 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,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Smith, as saying.
Right-hand batsman Jason Roy will also miss the T20I series against the Caribbean side for the birth of his first child. Consequently, Sam Billings and Dawid Malan have been called to the England T20 squad.
“Sam is a very talented cricketer who hits the ball as hard as anyone. 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,” Smith said.
“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,” he continued.
England and West Indies are slated to play a three-match T20I series from March 5 to 10.
Following is the full England squad for the West Indies T20I series:
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.