England has recalled wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow in their 16-member squad and has rested the superstar pair of all-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer for the upcoming two-match Test tour of Sri Lanka in January. The move comes as England looks to minimize the bubble-time for the two multi-format cricketers ahead of their back-to-back winter assignments which includes a grueling tour of India consisting of four Tests, 5 T20I, and three ODIs.
Jonny Bairstow returns to the red-ball set-up after a hiatus of an year. Bairstow last featured in a Test match for England against South Africa in the winter of 2019, following which he was dropped, having averaged a mere 18.55 in 10 Tests that year.
Bairstow’s recall comes after Ollie Pope and Rory Burns missed out from selection for the Sri Lankan tour. While Pope has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury. He will, however, still travel with the squad as part of his rehabilitation program ahead of the showdown against India in India. Opener Rory Burns, on the other hand, has been granted paternity leave.
We have named our squad for our men’s Test tour of Sri Lanka! ?????????
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 11, 2020
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman, Ben Foakes, who famously hit a century in his debut Test at Galle back in 2018, has been picked as a backup stumper to the incumbent Jos Buttler.
Legendary fast-bowling pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad will lead the bowling-unit, which also has the likes of Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Olly Stone. Adil Rashid, who claimed 12 wickets during England’s 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in 2018, hasn’t earned a recall, while Moeen Ali has been picked in the squad alongside fellow spinners Jack Leach and the incumbent Dom Bess.
England will leave for Hambantota from London on January 02 and they will train at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium between January 05-09. The two Test matches will take place behind closed doors at Galle on January 14 and 22 respectively.
England squad for the Test series against Sri Lanka-
Joe Root [C], Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Reserves: James Bracey, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Amar Virdi, Mason Crane, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton