Stokes, Archer rested for England’s tour of Sri Lanka, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow return
All-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer have been rested for England’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in January, but both will return for the series in India the following month. The duo was omitted from the 16-player squad and seven travelling reserves named by the England selectors on Friday.
Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow have returned to the fold. Ali had taken a break in 2019 while the wicketkeeper batsman Bairstow was dropped from the Test setup a year ago.
“The national selectors will provide a block of rest for all multi-format players at various points over the winter period,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement, confirming both will return for the India series.
England depart on Jan. 2 and will play both Tests at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, the first starting on Jan. 14 and the second on Jan. 22. Both will be behind closed doors. England will be subject to quarantine in Hambantota on arrival in Sri Lanka. During that period, the players will able to train for five days from Jan. 5-9 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.
The series was called off in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic with England already in Sri Lanka. As well as Stokes and Archer, Surrey batsman Rory Burns will miss the Sri Lanka tour as his wife is expecting their first child during the second week of January.
Ollie Pope, recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in September during the home Test series against Pakistan, will join the squad and continue his rehab in readiness for the four-match Test series against India starting in February.
England squad for Sri Lanka Tests: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Reserves: James Bracey, Mason Crane, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Amar Virdi. (Reporting by Martyn Herman Editing by Toby Davis)