“The only time so far that I’d say we’ve had a full-strength T20 side available would be the South Africa tour”; Jos Buttler refutes the suggestion that Eoin Morgan has always had his best T20 squad available at the expense of the England Test squad
Last Updated: 09/03/21 4:35pm
Jos Buttler has dismissed the suggestion that England have prioritised T20 cricket over Test matches with their rotation policy.
With players having spent long periods of time in bio-secure bubbles since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, England have tried to manage the workload of their multi-format players in a hectic year of international cricket that includes a five-match Test series at home to India and the T20 World Cup before the Ashes in Australia next winter.
As a result, Buttler was one of a number of players taken out of the bubble and rested at different times as Joe Root’s Test side were beaten 3-1 in India.
White-ball skipper Eoin Morgan will have a full-strength squad available to him for the IT20 series, which begins on Friday, live on Sky Sports Cricket, but Buttler refuted the idea that the limited-overs side was regularly given that luxury at the expense of the red-ball team.
“I think it’s quite an inaccurate statement, to be honest,” he told reporters. “If you look back at last summer, we didn’t have a full-strength squad available for those games.
“The only time so far that I’d say we’ve had a full-strength T20 side available would be the South Africa tour and obviously we’ve got what is, for the moment, our full-strength squad here in India.
“I don’t see it that it will be possible for the T20 side to have a full-strength squad going through the summer so I think it is quite an inaccurate statement.
“I think both Eoin and Joe, Chris Silverwood and the ECB have worked closely together to try and balance things as best they can in what is an incredibly difficult situation.
“It makes complete sense to be here in India, ahead of a World Cup, which will be played in these conditions, to play as best as we can in this series against what is an excellent India side, in their own conditions. It is probably the last time we’ll have a full-strength squad available.”
Buttler is back in India after leaving following England’s victory in the first Test and believes the break has benefited him and thinks the policy will be important to helping players arrive at the Ashes at the end of the year in good condition.
“We’d rather prevent problems than react to them,” the 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman said. “The ECB and the players have worked closely on that and I think we need to get away from the idea that you just go until you break and then we leave players behind.
“There is so much cricket coming up, there’s that huge carrot of the Ashes at the end of the year and you need to be getting to that point with players in the best shape to go and perform in that series, as opposed to be burnt out and no longer wanting to be in that (bubble) environment.”
An added complication comes in the form of the IPL that follows the white-ball leg of England’s tour of India. Twelve English players are set to play in the tournament, including Test stars such as Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Buttler.
India vs England
March 12, 2021, 12:30pm
Any player whose team progresses to the final four could miss England’s first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, which begins just three days after the IPL final, and Buttler acknowledges that it is far from an ideal situation.
“It’s tricky at the moment with the scheduling,” he said. “The IPL has always had this slot… and those New Zealand Tests have been added to a busy schedule quite late on.
“It is always going to be bittersweet if you are missing games with England or whatever opportunities you are missing. But we don’t know how far players are going to get into that tournament and we don’t know if we are actually going to miss them yet so we’ll wait and see.
“It’s a far from perfect situation.”
Watch England’s five-match T20I series in India live on Sky Sports. Our build-up to the first game starts at 12.30pm on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.