England confirmed the axing of Jason Roy for the upcoming tour of Pakistan and T20 World Cup, but have seen their fast bowling injury crisis eased by the returns of Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone.
England have a busy bank of white-ball cricket coming up. Two days after the Test series against South Africa ends this month, England travel to Pakistan (their first visit for 17 years) for seven T20s, before flying to Australia. There, they play three T20s against Australia, then official World Cup warm-ups before the tournament begins.
They will do so without Roy, though, as he has been dropped after a desperate summer that saw him make just 78 runs at an average of 12.66 in six T20Is at a strike rate of 78.
When England finished their white-ball summer, coach Matthew Mott and captain Jos Buttler told their players to dominate The Hundred. In six innings for Oval Invincibles before succumbing to a back injury, Roy managed just 51 runs from 51 balls, including three ducks. “Disappointing summer, now time to rebuild,” Roy wrote on Instagram yesterday.
This is the first major statement from Mott and Buttler, at the end of their first summer in charge. Roy has been a key player for England since the white-ball revolution of 2015, setting the tone at the top of the order. He has come through form slumps before, and proved a particularly important player at big tournaments.
Roy’s place in the squad for the Pakistan tour and World Cup goes to Phil Salt, while Harry Brook also makes both squads.
Will Jacks, Roy’s opening partner at Surrey, is one of four uncapped players in the squad for Pakistan, alongside Stone (who has played both the other formats for England), Middlesex’s Tom Helm, Lancashire’s Luke Wood, and Kent’s Jordan Cox, who is perhaps the most surprising pick.
Helm is the leading wicket-taker in The Hundred this year with Birmingham Phoenix, and is a player of interest to England across all formats. He could come into contention for December’s Test series in Pakistan, and England will be pleased that their fast bowling injury crisis is abating.
While there is still no Jofra Archer or Saqib Mahmood, both of whom have had stress fractures of the back, Wood, Woakes and Stone are all selected after not playing an international all summer.
Seasoned campaigners Wood and Woakes go straight into the World Cup squad, pipping Tymal Mills and Richard Gleeson to spots; both of them are named in the Pakistan squad and as travelling reserves in Australia. On the spin front, Liam Dawson is preferred to Matt Parkinson.
Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan are named in the squad for Australia despite injuries keeping them out of the Pakistan leg, for which Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow will be rested after a busy Test summer. When he joins the squad in Australia, Stokes – who has retired from ODIs – will play his first T20 for England since March 2021.
Both Stokes and Bairstow can be expected to slot into England’s top four behind Buttler and Dawid Malan. Buttler will miss some of the games in Pakistan with a calf injury, with Moeen Ali set to deputise as captain.