England players may rest during Ashes, says Chris Silverwood

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
England squad
England play home Test series against New Zealand and India before they travel to Australia

England coach Chris Silverwood says players could be rested and rotated during next winter's Ashes series.

Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have all missed parts of the winter series in Sri Lanka and India.

Despite a 3-1 loss in India, Silverwood said the policy had "worked".

On players potentially leaving the Ashes tour, he said: "It's certainly something we may have to look at."

England have rested and rotated players in a bid to manage their workload in a year that will include 16 or 17 Tests, as well as a Twenty20 World Cup.

From the schedule, Silverwood said the trip to Australia is what England are "prioritising".

"We talk about working our way towards the Ashes and I want the squad to arrive there fit and in form," he said.

"We want to make sure everyone arrives at that point in as good a place as possible. We have to look after our players."

There is also a desire to protect the players' mental well-being, with so much time spent in bio-secure 'bubbles' because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the policy has proved controversial because a number of the rested players played a full part in an Indian Premier League (IPL) last autumn and will do so again in April and May of this year.

"The rotation system, I'm happy with that," said Silverwood, who also suggested that rotation will "probably" continue during the home summer.

"You look at the amount of cricket that we've played and the amount we have in front of us, we have got to be proactive in looking after our players, making sure we keep them as fresh as possible so we can keep them going as long as possible."

With this year's IPL final taking place on 30 May, any England players whose team reaches the latter stages of the competition are likely to miss at least one of the two home Tests against New Zealand, which begin on 2 June.

No England players have previously missed a home Test to take part in the IPL, but Silverwood confirmed they will be available to play in the entire tournament this time around.

"We haven't looked at selection for the Test yet, but, for me, playing for your country is a big thing," he said.

"It's difficult to change anything, so they will be staying for the whole IPL as it stands at the moment."

Fast bowler Archer missed two of the India Tests with an ongoing elbow issue, but Silverwood said he has trained ahead of the five-match Twenty20 series against India, which begins on Friday.

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