Jos Buttler has been rested for England’s ODI against Scotland next month while Liam Plunkett returns to the squad for that match and the series against Australia. A hamstring injury had ruled Plunkett out of the matches against New Zealand.
According to Cricinfo, captain Eoin Morgan is expected to be fit for the start of England’s one-day season despite fracturing a finger playing for Middlesex, and coach Trevor Bayliss made the recommendation to rest Buttler for the Scotland match on June 10.
Sam Billings, the Kent captain, takes Buttler’s place although it is yet to be confirmed whether he or Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket. However, when the pair previously played in the same side last year against Ireland in the absence of Buttler it was Billings who was given the gloves. The two squads reinforce the stellar performances of the one-day side, which has risen to No. 1 in the world, in stark contrast to the dismal fortunes of the Test team of late. With a year to go until the World Cup, the majority of the 14 players named for Australia are nailed on for the tournament – the final squad for the event will be 15 names.
Plunkett, who has become a key part of England’s bowling plans in the middle overs, missed the one-day series in New Zealand after a recurrence of the hamstring injury he sustained in Australia. His absence was notable as, though England secured an impressive 3-2 series win against New Zealand, the quick bowlers struggled to make an impact in the middle chunk of the innings. They took three wickets at 117.33 and conceded 5.96 per over between overs 11 and 40.
Tom Curran was the beneficiary of Plunkett’s injury and has been retained in the squad for Australia although will not be part of the Scotland fixture. Craig Overton, who earned a call-up as Plunkett’s replacement but did not feature in the series, does not make either squad.
One of the selection conundrums in deciding the final XI will be the opening combination. Bairstow has cemented his spot at the top of the order having made 761 in 15 innings since taking the role against West Indies last year. That has included four centuries including back-to-back tons against New Zealand in March.
For the majority of that time his opening partner has been Jason Roy but since making his England-record 180 against Australia in Melbourne Roy hasn’t passed fifty. Alex Hales returned to the opening role when Roy was injured for the deciding ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch and hit 61 in an opening stand of 155 in 20 overs. In the final outcome, Hales’ weaker fielding may count against him