Chris Silverwood defended England’s rotation policy on Tuesday, even though it could give the coach some selection headaches on the upcoming tour of India. England, with the prospect of playing at least 17 Tests in 2021, equipped two star players in all-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer from their recent 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka. And they’ve already decided that batsman Jonny Bairstow and pacemen Mark Wood and Sam Curran will get a break from the first two Tests against India in Chennai.
Meanwhile, wicket-keeper-batsman Jos Buttler will be heading home after the opening game of the four-Test series, despite being in good shape with the bat and behind the stumps in Sri Lanka.
“I am completely satisfied with the system we currently use. I stick with it,” England coach Silverwood told reporters during a conference call.
Several observers have suggested that the policy reflects England’s predominant obsession with the Ashes – they are traveling Down Under in 2020/21.
But amid allegations that it is disrespectful to treat other tests as “ warm-ups ” for the Ashes, Silverwood insisted that the restrictions of playing cricket amid the coronavirus pandemic warranted a rotational policy.
“We have to take care of our people,” he said. “We spend a lot of time locked up in hotel rooms in bio-secure bubbles and it’s not easy.
“It’s good that we are proactive and take care of people …
“They can’t be with me all the time, that’s not the world we live in.”
The majority of England players who will take time out from this year’s busy international schedule also have lucrative Indian Premier League contracts.
But after having bitter arguments with Kevin Pietersen at the start of the IPL over the star hitter’s involvement in the Twenty20 franchise tournament, English cricket chiefs now seem to think they have more to lose than win by risking a breakthrough with leading players.
Many within the English hierarchy are convinced that IPL experience gained by Buttler, Stokes and Archer, among others, has helped them win the World Cup 50-over 2019 on their own soil.
“I would just ask them (England fans) to understand why we do what we do,” said Silverwood.
“We rest in the best interest of the player and equally to get the best out of them in the long term … I really believe we should take care of them proactively, rather than wait for a problem.”
Topics mentioned in this article