Ben Stokes is set to return to ODI action as he was named in England’s 14-man squad for the Royal London three-match series against India. Stokes is stepping up his recovery from a torn left-hamstring with a game for Durham Jets against Yorkshire Vikings in the T20 Blast next Thursday (July 5) and, should he get through unscathed, will be available for selection in England’s T20I against India in Bristol a few days later, on Sunday, July 8.
The allrounder last competed in a 50-over international for England in New Zealand, which was his first competitive action after the ECB banned him from international cricket after his involvement in the incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September of last year. He returned 141 runs and five wickets. With the India ODI series beginning on July 12, Stokes will be able to build-up match practice ahead of the five-match Test series with India, starting on August 1.
There is no place in the squad for Sam Billings. The Kent skipper was also left out of the original squad for the Australia ODIs, only to be drafted back in when Stokes was ruled out. In two innings for England, the wicketkeeper batsman has managed just 12 (against Scotland) and 11 (Australia) and the opportunity to return to his county and get a run of games under his belt in their T20 Blast campaign is one he, privately, will relish having spent most of the last 12-months carrying drinks for the international side.
Sam Curran misses out, too, having also been drafted into the ODI squad for the Australia series as injury cover for his brother, Tom, and Jake Ball. While he subsequently made his debut in the fifth and final ODI, taking two for 44 and contributing 15 with the bat, the return of both quicks sees the 20-year-old drop out.
England will be looking to step-up against high profile opposition, after whitewashing an under-strength Australia 5-0. While India are second in the ODI rankings, England are far enough ahead that defeat would still see them hold onto top spot.
Squad: Eoin Morgan (C), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Mark Wood.