Jos Buttler could potentially miss a couple of Test matches against India in February, making way for Ben Foakes, who has been in the English Test bubble for the majority of the last summer.
England have been the busiest team ever since the sport in the post-Covid world, with the side playing a couple of Test series against Windies and Pakistan apart from limited-over assignments against Ireland, Pakistan, Australia and most recently South Africa. The Indian Premier League saw a large contingent of English players partaking, which means an extended period in the bio-bubble more than any other players from any other countries.
Keeping that in mind, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Selection committee head Ed Smith decided to rotate players, with the intention of resting all of their multi-format players at some stage in their tours to Sri Lanka and India.
It might result in Jos Buttler, England’s wicket-keeper in all three formats, resting for at least two Test matches against India, which will open up an opportunity for Ben Foakes, who hasn’t played Test cricket for almost a couple of years.
“I think there will be an opportunity for Ben Foakes at some point this winter. Jos Buttler is certain to have a rest at some point, so that then will create or open up opportunities elsewhere. We’ve very fortunate in English cricket to have such strong depth in that area, and we’ll try to deploy those resources intelligently and to the best use of the team,” Ed Smith, the national selector, said.
“[Foakes] spent the whole summer in the bubble, and I think there’s a real understanding that he’s a very good cricketer and merits opportunities. I think there will be some opportunity for him at some point soon.”
Bairstow joins Test squad; Buttler to keep
While Jonny Bairstow was out of the English side in the Test format, after his repeated failure, he has now been called up for his impressive record in Asia. Most notably, the Yorkshireman scored a fantastic century in England’s 3-0 series victory over Sri Lanka the last time they were on a trip to the Isle.
“In his last Test match in Sri Lanka, he got a hundred in Colombo in that 3-0 series victory,” Smith said. “He has a very good record against spin, and we saw in different formats what a talented player he is in recent weeks.
“He’s missed out on selection over the last year and has obviously been very frustrated by that, but… with his pedigree as a player of spin in Asia, and with some gaps in the squad as well with Ben Stokes and Rory Burns not there, it felt like the perfect moment to reintroduce Jonny to the group.”