Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer have been rested for England’s Test series in Sri Lanka in January, while Jonny Bairstow has been recalled to a 16-man squad.
All-rounder Stokes – whose father, Ged, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 65 after a short battle with brain cancer – will not travel with the side to Sri Lanka for the games in Galle from January 14 and January 22, which form part of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
Paceman Archer has also been given a break, with a four-Test assignment in India – which includes a day-night fixture – beginning on February 5, while opening batsman Rory Burns will sit out the series with his wife expecting their first child in the first week of that month.
England squad for Sri Lanka Test series
Joe Root (Yorkshire) (captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonnny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Dom Bess (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)
- Ben Stokes’ father Ged passes away at the age of 65
- England announce Sri Lanka Test schedule
Burns’ absence and the continued omission of Ollie Pope due to a shoulder injury has seen Bairstow – who played the most recent of his 70 Tests in December 2019 – return as well as a spot for uncapped Essex batsman Dan Lawrence in a series that will be shown live on Sky Sports.
Bairstow averaged only 18.55 in 10 Tests in 2019, passing fifty only twice – but did hit a century in Sri Lanka in late 2018 while playing as a specialist batsman.
The Yorkshireman’s 110 from the No 3 spot in the final Test in Colombo helped England seal a 3-0 sweep after a pre-series ankle injury had seen Ben Foakes replace him as wicketkeeper.
Pope, who suffered his injury during September’s Test series at home to Pakistan, will travel with the squad and continue his rehab ahead of the India series in February and March.
Dom Bess, Jack Leach and Moeen Ali have been selected as England’s spinners for the series – Moeen and Leach claimed 36 wickets between them when Joe Root’s side beat Sri Lanka in 2018 for their first overseas sweep in a series of three or more games since 1963.
Adil Rashid, the final member of England’s spin trio on that tour two years ago, remains absent – the leg-spinner recently told Sky Sports that he has a lot of things to consider before he commits to a Test recall, including whether his shoulder can stand up to the rigours of the longest format.
England reserves for Sri Lanka series
James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Amar Virdi (Surrey)
England’s 16-strong party in Sri Lanka will be supplemented by seven reserves, including leg-spinners Mason Crane (Hampshire) and Matt Parkinson (Lancashire) and off-spinner Amar Virdi (Surrey).
Wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey (Gloucestershire) and seam bowlers Craig Overton (Somerset), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire) and Ollie Robinson (Sussex) complete their back-up group.
Watch England’s two-Test series in Sri Lanka live on Sky Sports in January.
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