Eoin Morgan’s return to lead England’s limited-overs teams, alongside record-breaking opener Alex Hales, was rubber-stamped when the selectors named both to face India in the new year.
Coach Trevor Bayliss spelled out that a protracted absence for either “wasn’t even discussed” as England stayed true to their word of ‘no recriminations’ for Morgan’s and Hales’s decisions to opt out of the last tour of Bangladesh because of security concerns.
They were the only two to stay at home, while stand-in captain Jos Buttler led England to a hard-earned 2-1 victory in October, after deliberations by all as to whether they were comfortable making the trip following the deadly terror attack on a Dhaka cafe in July.
England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss said in September he was disappointed the captain and hard-hitting opener were not travelling but added then, and several times since, that, despite ‘no guarantees’, the decision would not be held against them.
So it proved as England announced two 15-man squads for three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s against India in January and February, which were otherwise notable for the inclusion of Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow ahead of Ben Duckett.
The Northamptonshire batsman made two half-centuries in three white-ball innings against Bangladesh, but has since struggled in Tests there and in India.
Bayliss’s first task following confirmation of Morgan’s and Hales’s returns was to stress that no consideration was given to leaving them out.
“It wasn’t even discussed,” said the Australian.
“The decision was that there would not be any recriminations against them, and they are straight back in.”
Duckett’s omission was a marginal call as England chose to reward Bairstow’s brilliant form over the past year. It was simply the case that the return of Hales, Morgan and also Yorkshire’s Joe Root – rested for the ODIs in Bangladesh – meant someone had to give way. Sam Billings, who hit an impressive half-century as an emergency opener in the series-clincher in Bangladesh, also got the nod.
England squads for ODI international amd T20 series in India
ODI squad: E Morgan (capt), M Ali, J Bairstow, J Ball, S Billings, J Buttler (wkt), L Dawson, A Hales, L Plunkett, A Rashid, J Root, J Roy, B Stokes, D Willey, C Woakes.
T20 squad: E Morgan (capt), M Ali, J Ball, S Billings, J Buttler (wkt), L Dawson, A Hales, C Jordan, T Mills, L Plunkett, A Rashid, J Root, J Roy, B Stokes, D Willey