It is frustrating when players choose T20 franchises over England
England captain Jos Buttler has expressed his “frustration” that the solvency of franchise leagues and a crowded schedule have denied him a stronger squad for next month’s white-ball tour of Bangladesh.
Buttler is without a number of players for the tour, which will see England play three ODIs and then three T20s and is a key build-up for the 50-over World Cup in India later in the year. The ODI leg, which begins March 1, clashes with the New Zealand Test Tour, while the full trip clashes with the Pakistan Super League.
After talks with England, Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson have opted to play in PSL rather than represent their country. Regular white-ball player David Willey will not travel to Bangladesh either, although he is not currently under PSL contract.
When the Test Tour ends, Will Jacks and Ben Duckett will join the Bangladesh squad for three T20s, but they – like Joe Root, Harry Brook and others – are unavailable for the ODIs. Buttler refused to blame individual players for choosing to play franchise cricket, saying those who retired to play PSL continue to compete for the World Cup.
“Wherever the game is played, we want to choose our best team”
“It’s a pretty unique situation,” he said. “It’s the time we’re in. I can understand the way the games are planned both ways. As an England captain, on the one hand you want everyone to see playing for England as the main thing and every opportunity that comes up seize the opportunity.” .
“But there are bigger things at play too and the gap between what people can earn playing for England and what they don’t play for England is quite a big one, so that’s a factor to take into account must be made, and a different decision is made for each individual at different times in their careers.
“Nowadays you have to try to work with it as best as you can, and when people make that decision not to make themselves available, they know they’re giving someone else a chance, too. I definitely don’t want to be in a position where you shut people out and say they’ll never play for England again or anything like that.
“Wherever people play, we want to choose our best team available, especially for World Cups and big ICC events, so we’re open-minded. It’s certainly quite complicated and of course there are some frustrations at certain points, but I totally have to understand people’s positions and it’s an individual decision at the end of the day.”
The main beneficiary of the widespread unavailability is Somerset captain Tom Abell, who is making his first overseas call-up and being called up to both squads, while teenage spin sensation Rehan Ahmed is being selected to a white-ball squad for the first time. Abell becomes captain of the Sri Lankan Lions white ball team, offering Buttler a versatile batting option. While, like most elite domestic players, he has played little more than 50 cricket since 2019, he has demonstrated his ability to score quickly on death in T20 cricket.
Ahmed could still be a bolter at this year’s World Cup, replacing Adil Rashid with whom he will be working in Bangladesh. Ahmed, 18, shone in his Test debut in Pakistan in December but many believe he is a more developed white ball player at this stage in his career.
Saqib Mahmood returns to the national team as he continues his comeback from a stress fracture in his back. He is joined by Jofra Archer, who pulled out his best international figures in Kimberley last night, and Mark Wood in a fast-looking attack. Wood rested for the South Africa and New Zealand tours earlier this year.
Buttler said Bangladesh would help Archer work toward the Ashes.
“He wants to play,” he said. “If he comes back and is fit and cricket is available then there doesn’t seem to be any point in holding him back. He obviously needs to build up his overs and stamina to be able to bowl 10 overs a game and up English Cricket Course If you look ahead you’ll also want to see him play Test cricket where he’ll be able to change spells bowling magic.
There’s no T20 recall for Jason Roy, who scored a century in the first of three ODIs in South Africa after being left out of the World Cup squad last year. Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow remain out through injury.
England squad for Bangladesh tour
Jos Buttler (Lancashire, Captain), Tom Abell (Somerset), Rehan Ahmed (Leicestershire), Moeen Ali (Warwickshire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Sam Curran (Surrey), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Reece Topley (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire, Captain), Tom Abell (Somerset), Rehan Ahmed (Leicestershire), Moeen Ali (Warwickshire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Will Jacks (Surrey), Chris Jordan (Surrey), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Reece Topley (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)