England’s Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes have been rested for the upcoming three-match T20I series against West Indies to help relieve the pair’s loaded schedule in the buildup to the World Cup.
England announced they will be resting the pair in the final part of their tour of West Indies on the back of their historic record-breaking chase in the first ODI against the Caribbean side. The power-hitting middle-order twosome will be sent home after the last fixture of their five-match ODI series against West Indies.
Buttler and Stokes are expected to play a major role in England’s 2019 World Cup campaign on home soil, but both men are facing a hectic schedule of cricket (including their participation in the IPL from late March) during the buildup to the tournament that begins on 30 May – when the visitors face off against South Africa in the opening match.
England’s national selector Ed Smith denied allegations that the move could be interpreted as a case where franchise cricket is being prioritised over England duty.
‘I have not favoured franchise cricket over international cricket,’ said Smith. ‘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.’
Jason Roy is also set to miss the series in order to be home in time for the birth of his first child. Sam Billings and Dawid Malan have been drafted to fill the vacant spots.
England T20I squad
Eoin Morgan (captain)
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images