Chris Silverwood has admitted England may continue their controversial rest and rotation policy throughout this year and into the Ashes.
The shock possibility of England going into the biggest Test series of them all next winter with a weakened side was raised on Sunday when their coach defended a policy that has been exposed by a crushing 3-1 defeat in India.
‘We have to be pro-active and look after the players so it’s certainly something we may have to look at,’ said Silverwood when asked if England will fly players in and out of Australia during the Ashes.
England coach Chris Silverwood (right) is ready to continue his side’s rest and rotation policy
‘There is a whole lot of cricket coming up this summer then we very quickly disappear abroad once our season is finished. We are trying to grow a group of players where we can put out a strong side all the time.
‘We have to be aware of the need for rotation this year because we don’t know yet what the landscape is going to look like from a Covid point of view. I know things are opening up but we will be guided by medical people and what’s going on in the country.’
England left themselves open to accusations of not treating an iconic Test series in India with the importance it deserves by allowing Jos Buttler to miss all but the first Test; Jonny Bairstow to fly home from Sri Lanka and miss the first two Tests and Moeen Ali to miss the last two after making an impact in the second.
But Silverwood insisted a series that ended with England’s third huge defeat in a row on Saturday, this one by an innings and 25 runs within three days, was taken seriously.
‘No-one took this series lightly I can promise you that, absolutely not,’ he said. ‘Don’t for one minute think that. We came here wanting to win but It’s a very difficult place to come. We’ve seen that time and time again. History tells you that. Not just for England but for other countries as well.’
England could be without seven stars, including Ben Stokes, for two Tests against New Zealand
The controversy is set to continue at the start of the international summer when England could be without up to seven players – Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow – for two Tests against New Zealand because of their decision to play in the whole Indian Premier League.
The lucrative franchise competition confirmed on Sunday the final of this year’s league will be brought forward to May 30, as reported by Sportsmail last week.
But with the first knockout round taking place a week before the first Test at Lord’s on June 2 time is tight for any of the players to get back and prepare for Lord’s.
‘It’s difficult to change anything so they will be staying for the whole IPL as it stands at the moment,’ confirmed Silverwood. ‘For me playing for your country is a big thing. We’ll be looking at New Zealand and seeing how much preparation time we need before we decide what date the players need to be back to be in contention.’