Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales return for England's limited-overs side in India

Ben Duckett misses out to Jonny Bairstow

David Clough
Monday 05 December 2016 19:17
Morgan decided against touring Bangladesh despite being captain
Morgan decided against touring Bangladesh despite being captain

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 and Hales' decision 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 on Monday evening 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 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' first task following confirmation of Morgan and Hales' return 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."

Bayliss also ruled out the conjecture, aired by several pundits, that Morgan might compromise team-mates' respect - after England's dramatic improvement under his leadership since the 2015 World Cup - having declined to accompany them into the ring-of-steel security environment provided for the Bangladesh tour.

"I have not sensed that at all," Bayliss said.

Alex Hales opted out of the tour of Bangladesh on safety grounds 

"He gets on well with all of the guys in the team.

"He is very highly-respected with everyone for the job he has done over the last two years."

Duckett's omission was a marginal call as England chose just reward for Bairstow's brilliant form across the formats over the past year.

"There was a lot of discussion around Duckett," said Bayliss.

"He did well in Bangladesh, and if we had left someone else out they would have been desperately unlucky as well.

"Duckett has done himself no harm. He has shot up the pecking order and is right there or thereabouts."

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