Former skippers Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan are not happy with England’s squad selection for the first two Tests against India in which they have rested wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow.
After the culmination of the ongoing second Test against Sri Lanka, England will be touring India for four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs beginning February 5.
“I would say it’s a concern that one of England’s best three players of spin — I would say Bairstow is alongside Joe Root and Ben Stokes in that — has been given a boarding pass home and the others are going to Chennai. I’d have to rethink,” Hussain wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
“England fans switching on when it is turning and England are 20/2 may well have the argument, ‘I want to see our best batsman against spin, or one of them, in Bairstow.”
“If the next Test after this series was Brisbane in the Ashes, would we send our best side? So why when it’s the first Test against India, one of the great sides, aren’t we sending our best team? It is that balancing act of being fair to the public and winning what’s in front of you and long-term planning all year,” he added.
Bairstow, Mark Wood and Sam Curran have been rested for the first two Tests against India, while Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns — who are not part of the Sri Lanka series — have been recalled.
“The only player in England’s Top 3 that’s playing the sub continent conditions with any control or calmness is resting for the first 2 Tests against the best Team in world at home #India !!! The world is officially mad,” tweeted Vaughan.
The first two Test matches are set to played in Chennai, before the series moves to Ahmedabad for the final two Tests. The third Test will be a day-night encounter, beginning on February 24.
England squad (for the first two Tests): Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler*, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes