Archer, Stokes, Burns return for India Tests...

Dhaka, Friday   26 February 2021

Archer, Stokes, Burns return for India Tests

 Sports Desk

 Published: 10:30 PM, 21 January 2021  

Archer, Stokes, Burns return for India Tests

Archer, Stokes, Burns return for India Tests

Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, and Rory Burns have been named in England's 16-man squad for the first two Tests in India next month while Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood have been rested. Jos Buttler will play the opening match in India and then return home, missing the final three Tests.

Archer and Stokes were themselves rested for the current series against Sri Lanka as part of England's policy of giving all their multi-format players a rest during the post-Christmas winter schedule. Burns also missed the Sri Lanka Tests on paternity leave.

All three will return for the two Tests against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, the first of which begins on February 5. Bairstow, Curran and Wood, all of whom have been selected in England's team for the second Test in Sri Lanka beginning on Friday (January 22), will head home for a rest but all three will return for the third and fourth Tests in Ahmedabad.

Ed Smith, the ECB's National Selector, confirmed that Buttler will play the first Test in Chennai and then be rested for the final three matches against India. That means Ben Foakes will most probably keep wicket for England in the second Test as a minimum and could retain the gloves even when Bairstow returns for the third and fourth matches.

Moeen Ali, who has been ruled out of both Tests in Galle after falling ill with COVID-19, is also included in the squad to face Virat Kohli's men while Ollie Pope, who is currently with England in Sri Lanka recovering from a dislocated shoulder he suffered last summer, will remain with the tour party in India and be officially added to the squad once he is deemed fit enough.

In the absence of Bairstow, and if Pope does not recover in time for the first Test in Chennai, Dan Lawrence could keep his place in the team after his promising debut. In Wood's absence, Olly Stone has been retained in the squad to provide Joe Root with a second genuine pace option after Archer.

England will also be taking six reserves with them to India to cover for illness or injury, all of whom are currently with the squad in Sri Lanka. Craig Overton, the seventh reserve on the current tour, will return to the UK after the second Test in Galle unless there are injuries.

Those travelling from Sri Lanka will fly to Chennai on a charter flight after the conclusion of the second Test in Sri Lanka. The Daily Mirror reported that Stokes, Archer and Burns will fly on a commercial flight to India from England.

England will announce a squad for the final two Tests against India in due course. Jos Buttler is expected to be rested for those matches.

Squad for first two Tests: Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.