Joe Root, England’s star batsman, has been rested for the limited-overs matches against Australia. His absence will prompt questions about the recently renewed intention that one-day cricket had to become a priority to ensure that England’s lamentable run of World Cup flops is stopped.
There is a sound case for giving Root a break. He has played 101 matches for England in all forms of the game since making his debut in the fourth Test against India in late 2012. Dropped for one of the 31 Tests between then and now – on the last tour of Australia – he had an enforced absence from limited-overs matches last year after breaking a hand while batting on a short tour of the West Indies.
A breather is definitely to be recommended but it still leaves England to defend the balance between the short and long form of the game.
The squads (for a single T20 and five one-day internationals) have the same vibrant look that characterised them earlier this summer in the New Zealand series. The only newcomer is the 21-year-old Essex bowler Reece Topley, in for the T20 partly for his form, partly because left-arm swing bowlers are priceless.
James Vince, in sizzling form, is also in the T20 squad after making 107 from 65 balls this month and should have been in the ODI party as well. But his time is at hand.
The return of Moeen Ali after he was rested against New Zealand leaves England to decide whether to restore him to his opening role or stick with the exciting combination of Alex Hales and Jason Roy. The matches start with the T20 in Cardiff next Monday.