England confirm squad for India tour as Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer return

Root will lead his side to India


England have announced a 16-man squad and six reserves for the first two Tests against India next month. With the four-match series starting on 5 February, selectors took the decision to split the tour in half to alleviate the strain of a taxing schedule and months on an in bio-secure bubbles.

As such, the return of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Rory Burns means Sam Curran, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow will return to the United Kingdom after the conclusion of the on-going Sri Lanka series. They will play in the second Test at Galle, which starts on Friday, before returning home. The rest of the squad will then travel to India, aside from Craig Overton, who will also return to the UK unless required as injury cover.

Archer and Stokes were rested for the on-going Test series, while Burns was given a leave of absence to remain at home for the birth of his first child. With a full programme of red and white ball fixtures in 2021, culminating in an Ashes series and Twenty20 World Cup at the end of the year, the ECB are taking a long-term view on selection matters, and believe they have the squad depth to pick their strongest XIs while preparing for fixtures down the line.

Multi-format players will be given preference when it comes to prescribed rest. Jos Buttler, for instance, is likely to miss the final two Tests of the India series with three T20s and three one-day matches. With India hosting this year’s T20 World Cup, England want to pick a full-strength side for the limited overs leg to gain as much experience as possible in these conditions.

Surrey’s Ollie Pope will also travel to India and will be added to the squad when passed fit. Pope has been recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained during the Test series against Pakistan. He is an unofficial tour member out in Sri Lanka, unavailable for selection but slowly building himself back up to match fitness after five months out under the watchful eyes of England physio and coaches. He is progressing well and was able to bat in the intra-squad tour match out in Sri Lanka, top-scoring with 58 not out for Team Buttler against Team Root.

Full squad

Joe Root (Yorkshire) (captain), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Dom Bess (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

Tour dates

Friday 5-9 February: 1st Test – India v England, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

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Saturday 13-17 February: 2nd Test – India v England, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

Wednesday 24-28 February: 3rd Test – India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad

Thursday 4-8 March: 4th Test – India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad

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