England Head Coach Chris Silverwood asserted that the Three Lions benched off-spinner Moeen Ali due to the flat nature of the wickets and insisted that there is no need to read too much into his omission. Silverwood further revealed that Jofra Archer was keen to ‘put England first’.
England’s decision to send Moeen Ali back home mid-way through the Test series created a ruckus, but the management, then, justified the call by claiming that they wanted the all-rounder to be fresh for the white-ball leg of the tour. Hence, there was considerable bafflement when the Three Lions benched Ali, remarkably, for all five T20Is, not giving the 33-year-old a look in despite India fielding a minimum of two spinners every game. Adil Rashid played as the lone spinner in all five games and England, quite astonishingly, made a grand total of just one change across the entire series.
Ali’s snub - he has been benched for 8 consecutive T20Is now - has seen many speculate that the England management don’t see the 33-year-old as a part of their core group, but head coach Chris Silverwood rubbished those claims. Speaking ahead of the ODI series, Silverwood revealed that England left out Ali only because the wickets were not conducive to spin, and added that there’s absolutely no need to read too much into the off-spinner’s omission.
"Mo's a very important member of our squad. We have turned up expecting the wickets to offer a little more spin than they did. And they didn't. The wickets we played on were firm so we picked the team we thought would win on those wickets. It was literally as simple as that,” Silverwood said on Sunday, reported Cricbuzz.
"And just to be clear it's not in Indian conditions, it was on those pitches in Ahmedabad that we didn't pick him. It's not for all conditions in India we're talking about here, we looked at the pitches and we picked the attack that we believed would be successful or effective on those pages in Ahmedabad. Mo's training hard, he's doing everything right, it was just down to a selection issue on those wickets. I really wouldn't read anything more into it than that."
Ali, who did not feature in the T20Is, might very well get a game in the ODIs, but Jofra Archer, who played all five games, will be heading back home to attend to an elbow injury. Not only that, Archer will also miss at least the initial part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which will commence on April 9. Silverwood revealed that the decision to let Archer miss the first few weeks of the IPL was ‘mutual’, and added that both parties wanted to ‘put England first’.
"First and foremost, we have got to get to the bottom of what's going on there. He is going to miss the early stages of the IPL but we will be led by the medics on where we go from there. It is not technically the same problem. The important thing here is that we get it cleared up,” Silverwood said of Archer’s injury.
"It was a joint decision and both parties put England first basically. And basically, he needs to get this right. He needs some time to do that so we've made some space to make sure that we gave him the best chance of being successful for England. And all parties agreed on that. Obviously, Jofra was very, very keen on that as well. He wants to be at the World Cup, and he wants to be at the Ashes. It wasn't a difficult decision by either side, to be honest. I think it was a sensible decision.
"It's obviously disappointing for Jofra and disappointing for us but it's clearly something we need to get to the bottom of. We will make sure he has got every resource around him and hopefully get him back fighting fit to play for England."
Archer had an injection on his elbow during the Test series and missed two games, and despite the 25-year-old playing through pain to feature in all five T20Is, skipper Eoin Morgan admitted that the speedster's elbow injury was serious enough to demand immediate attention. Silverwood insisted that it was imperative for England to find out what exactly is wrong with Archer’s elbow and treat it, so that he will be 100% fit by the time the Ashes and WT20 beckons.
"I don't want to speculate too much at the moment until we find out exactly what's going on with his elbow and we'll make a plan from there alongside the medics. At this moment in time, I'm pretty chilled out but the important thing is Jofra sees the right people and we get the right treatment for him. I want Jofra for the World Cup and the Ashes. He's a great performer and I want him there. I have every confidence in my medics to make sure they come up with the best treatment and give him the best chance."