England are unlikely to rush their Indian Premier League players straight from quarantine to the Test squad against New Zealand as they would be lacking red-ball practice, according to reports.
This will mean that the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali, who are serving a mandatory 10-day quarantine after returning from the currently-suspended IPL, are likely to miss the two Tests against NZ, starting on June 2.
Their isolation period expires at the weekend, leaving little more than two weeks before the first Test at Lord’s.
“The timeline is considered too tight for the returning players, meaning calls up are expected for the likes of Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton and James Bracey,” according to a report in BBC Sport.
“While fitness levels could be managed, the lack of red-ball practice could be a concern – particularly with other options having spent several weeks competing in the County Championship,” said another report in The Independent.
Head coach Chris Silverwood will on Tuesday convene his first selection meeting since taking full control of the process from Ed Smith.
England men’s cricket managing director Ashley Giles had earlier hinted that players who returned from the suspended IPL are unlikely to feature in the Test series against New Zealand.
There were 11 Englishmen in various franchises in the suspended IPL.
The IPL was suspended on May 4 after multiple Covid-19 breached its bio-bubble with multiple players testing positive for the dreaded virus.
Silverwood to take break after NZ Tests
England head coach Chris Silverwood will take a break after his team’s two Tests against New Zealand, handing over the reins of the ODI side to his assistants for the home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, starting late June.
Having been part of England’s tours of Sri Lanka and India earlier this year, Silverwood said he will take a break to refresh himself before returning at the helm for the marquee Test series against visiting Indians, starting in August.
In Silverwood’s absence, his assistants Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe will take charge of the ODI team for one series each in the home matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan from late June to mid-July.
“I’ll be passing the reins on for the ODI series. It’s not fair on the players if I am operating at less than 100% and it is not fair on myself either,” Silverwood was quoted as saying by the British media.
“Thorpey will do one and Colly will do the other and I’ll use it as my break to refresh and get ready for what is ahead of us,” he added.
Silverwood said just like the players, it was important to keep the backroom staff “as fresh as possible.”
“It’s just important that we keep our personnel as fresh as possible.
“You saw that during the winter that we tried to do that with our players, to the best of our ability, and it’s equally important that we do that with the staff. It’s important we look after each other.”
After the two-match home Test series against New Zealand, starting on June 2, England will play 12 white-ball internationals at home. Their limited-overs home series against Sri Lanka begins on June 23 with the first of the three T20Is, followed by three ODIs.
Then, Pakistan’s tour of three ODIs and as many T20Is begins on July 16. This will be followed by a five-match home Test series against India beginning August 4, when Silverwood will return at the helm of affairs.
England has already adopted a rest-and-rotation policy for its players to tackle a relentlessly busy schedule.
After hosting seven Tests as well as the 12 white-ball internationals, England is scheduled to tour Pakistan and Bangladesh ahead of the T20 World Cup scheduled for October.
Joe Root’s Test team then travels to Australia for the Ashes series, followed by a tour of the Caribbean at the start of next year.
“I’m not going to deny – it’s not easy for me,” he said, of switching off from his job.
“Obviously I am wholly on board with what we are doing. I am very embedded in it now. I do find it hard to switch off but I’ll do my best,” Silverwood said.
England is expected to name the Test squad for the series against top-ranked New Zealand early next week.
(With PTI inputs)