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England v Australia

Ed Smith: Door not closed on Joe Root in T20Is

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

England chief selector Ed Smith says the door is not closed on Joe Root in T20Is despite his omission from the squad for the upcoming three-match series against Australia.

Root has been included in England’s ODI squad for the three-match series at Emirates Old Trafford that will follow the T20Is at the Ageas Bowl, but his exile from the shortest international format continues; his last T20I appearance was against Pakistan last May.

The 29-year-old averages 35.72 in T20I cricket and was notably England’s leading run-scorer at the 2016 World T20, where they finished runners-up. After the conclusion of England’s Test series with Pakistan last week, Root made himself available for Yorkshire Vikings in the T20 Blast and hit a match-winning 40-ball 64 against Derbyshire on Sunday. On Monday, he made it back-to-back half-centuries by hitting a 43-ball 65 against Notts Outlaws.

Speaking on Monday, Smith said that with Root not currently in England’s starting XI, “it’s not right for him that we have him in the squad”, but refused to rule out a T20I return for England’s Test captain.

“I don’t think any door is closed to Joe Root,” said Smith. “A couple of things about Joe: he’s a brilliant cricketer, an outstanding man. He’s also England’s Test captain and at the moment we are setting up in a particular way as an XI in T20 cricket. Joe’s not in that. And then the decision moves towards, ‘Well if he’s not in that starting XI at the moment – although no doors are closed to him in the future, and that could easily change – where’s the right place for Joe?’

“He plays so much cricket, he gives so much to England every time he plays. The decision is that it’s not right for him that we have him in the squad if he’s not likely to be starting. So, he’s not in the squad for the T20s.

“Moving forward that could easily change. We’ve all seen that Joe’s an exceptionally adaptable and outstanding batsman, and he could easily come back into the reckoning. But at the moment, that’s where it sits.”

England have enjoyed a successful run of form in the shortest format: since their last series loss, to India in the summer of 2018, they have won 11 of their last 14 completed matches, with a five-wicket win over Pakistan including their third-highest successful run chase.

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