England won’t drop Root when Stokes returns


England assistant coach Paul Farbrace insists Joe Root will not be dropped from the T20I team when Ben Stokes returns to action following his injury.

Stokes suffered a hamstring injury after the first Test against Pakistan at the end of last month but his return to the field is imminent as he is set to play for Durham in a T20 Blast match against Yorkshire at Headingley on 5 July.

The allrounder is hoping to be available for the third T20I against India in Bristol on 8 July but his return to the international fold could create a selection dilemma.

Alex Hales was always man the most likely to be dropped but the Nottinghamshire player has been in sparkling form of late which has led to suggestions that Root might lose his place in the team for the shortest format.

Farbrace, who is England’s acting coach for the three T20Is against India as Trevor Bayliss is taking a break, immediately shot down suggestions that Root will make way wants Stokes comes back into the reckoning.

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Speaking ahead of the first T20I against India taking place on Tuesday, Farbrace said: “Is Root’s place locked in? In my mind 100 percent. I can’t believe anybody else in our set up would argue against that.

“You need your best batsman. He (Root) is world-class in all forms of the game. You do need nous, and you do need people playing in different ways.

“There will be times when he is the outstanding player in a T20 game and gets us over the line.

“The best players adapt and score runs, whether it is 20 overs or 50 overs or Test match cricket, and he is without doubt one of the finest players in the world.

“He could go anywhere from three to six – and it is nice having that flexibility and that cool, calm head.”

England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan is set to have the final say over who misses out when Stokes eventually does return.

Farbrace said: “You are going to go with the captain pretty much every time, because he takes the team on to the field.

“There are not going to be any violent disagreements. But we were sitting chatting about the possibilities — and it is not obvious.”