The winners and losers from England’s Bangladesh ODI & T20I squad announcement
England have named their squads for a white-ball tour of Bangladesh in March – here are the winners and losers from the squad announcement.
England ODI squad for Bangladesh: Jos Buttler (c), Tom Abell, Rehan Ahmed, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
England T20I squad for Bangladesh: Jos Buttler (c), Tom Abell, Rehan Ahmed, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
After his successful Test debut for England in Pakistan, we have the answer to when we will next see Rehan Ahmed in an England shirt. His inclusion is again evidence of management treating him with due caution. They left him out of the New Zealand Tests on non-spin-friendly surfaces, but in similar conditions to what they will be faced with in the World Cup he’s back in. As with his first Test call-up, he comes with the caveat of massively limited experience – he’s played in only seven List A games in his career. But Rehan has spent this winter playing for the Gulf Giants in the ILT20, bowling with reasonable success and opening the batting with James Vince. It’s another step up on the international ladder for the 18-year-old.
Since suffering a stress fracture in his back early last summer, Mahmood has been another one of England’s recovering fast bowlers. But after successful rehabilitation with England Lions in the UAE, his inclusion is another tick on England’s journey towards having a full set of fast bowlers available for selection. He has 14 wickets from the seven ODIs he’s played, with an economy rate of 4.58.
In, out and now back in again for England in ODI colours, Vince will once again act as stand-in for Joe Root before the schedule allows him back into the ODI side. While that’s the role Vince has mostly occupied for England when he’s played ODI cricket over the last four years, there are spots up for grabs in England’s top order, and a stellar series could bump him up the pecking order.
Tom Abell’s selection is a positive story for county cricket. At 28 years old and yet to make his international debut, Abell scored over 1,000 runs in the County Championship for Somerset last year and performed well in the T20 Blast. He was rewarded with a call-up to the England Lions where he scored a half-century against a Sri Lanka Board President’s XI. In amongst the myriad of franchise leagues, Abell’s selection shows the traditional route to international honours is still a viable option.
T20 franchise cricket
That being said, there’s plenty to cheer for on the franchise pathway as well. Of the 18 players selected across both squads, 15 have spent time playing franchise cricket this winter. Of the ones who haven’t, Mahmood is coming back from injury, and Mark Wood has been wrapped in cotton wool – Ben Duckett is the only outlier. The pull of T20 leagues remains strong – Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson have all reportedly chosen to play in the Pakistan Super League rather than join up with England.
It’s difficult to tell who’s actually been dropped by England, given the juggling between the Test squad, various T20 leagues and resting and rotation that goes on, but David Willey is almost certainly a drop – unless he has turned down the tour in order to play in the PSL or the like. He only played one match in South Africa, in which he bowled six overs and didn’t take any wickets. With Sam Curran occupying Willey’s role of left-arm seamer and all-rounder, there’s limited opportunity for Willey to find his way back into the squad.
Jonny Bairstow’s leg
Unsurprisingly, Jonny Bairstow’s leg continues to keep him away from competitive cricket. While there are still five months until the start of the Ashes series and eight months until the World Cup, time is running out for Bairstow to get some international cricket under his belt in the lead-up to the summer. After both series in Bangladesh, England only have a one-off Test match against Ireland before the first Test against Australia.
As previously mentioned, the proximity of the Test match series in New Zealand and the ODIs in Bangladesh make it nearly impossible to tell who has been dropped from at least the ODI squad. Although Ben Duckett struggled against South Africa he is unavailable for selection for the ODI squad, along with Harry Brook and Olly Stone from the squad in South Africa. Joe Root is also still absent from fifty-over cricket and although Will Jacks has yet to make his ODI debut it’s hard to think if he was available he wouldn’t be in the selectors’ minds given his performance in franchise leagues and inclusion in the T20I squad.
England’s next ODI series isn’t until September, only a month before their World Cup title defence begins. They have a finite amount of time to figure out their best XI and give those who will be part of it adequate preparation time.