Cape Town T20I: The first T20I between South Africa and England will resume international cricket for South Africa after the COVID-19 outbreak.
England head coach Chris Silverwood hasn’t entirely ruled out the prospect of Joe Root making a T20I return during the forthcoming three-match T20I series against South Africa. However, the prowess of England’s team in the shortest format will make it difficult even for someone of Root’s skills to find a spot in the Playing XI.
“Never say never. Everybody that’s here is an option. We’ve got a large group of players here but do have that squad that we’ll initially pick from. If guys are here and doing well, you never know, but we picked that squad and we’ll start there,” Silverwood told PA media in the lead-up to the first T20I in Cape Town on November 27.
Root, 29, had last played a T20I more than 18 months ago against Pakistan in Cardiff. In the five T20s that Root played for Yorkshire in this year’s T20 Blast, he did remarkably well to score 278 runs at an average and strike rate of 69.50 and 144.79 respectively which included as many as four half-centuries.
The primary reason why Root has been somewhat back in the spotlight is him scoring 45* (26) with the help of five fours and a six in a 91-run match-winning partnership to seal a 140-run chase for Team Buttler against Team Morgan in Paarl last night.
Who will open for England in Cape Town T20I vs South Africa?
In the recently concluded 13th season of the Indian Premier League, England vice-captain Jos Buttler and all-rounder Ben Stokes had swapped roles. While Buttler was given the finisher’s role, Stokes was promoted up the order to open the batting.
Being asked about the possibility of England trying the same in this series, Silverwood expressed clarity about their plans stating that IPL gigs won’t confuse the English team management. Therefore, expect Buttler to open and Stokes to bat in the middle-order for England in T20Is.
When there’s Friday Night Football and you didn’t sort your Fantasy team pic.twitter.com/e3P6LjcHkH
— Jos Buttler (@josbuttler) November 24, 2020
“It’s great that those two guys get experience of doing different things and I don’t think it ever hurts them as players to explore different options, but it doesn’t muddy the waters at all.
“We’re pretty certain about which way we want to go and we’ll do that. We are blessed with the batsmen we’ve got here, world-class players who are capable of doing a multitude of jobs in that order. I know Ben [Stokes] was keen to do it, he’s always keen to get up the order and give it a go. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, I’d say I was glad to see him do well,” Silverwood added.