Chance of re­venge on hold for Stokes

Cricket: Eng­land rest all­rounder for Twenty20

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - SPORT -

A sell-out Durham crowd will be de­nied a re­match be­tween Ben Stokes and his World Twenty20 con­queror Car­los Brath­waite to­day, but Eng­land cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan in­sists rest­ing the all­rounder is the right de­ci­sion.

The county has ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions by fill­ing ev­ery seat in the house for a stand­alone match that lays bare the lack of con­text be­dev­illing the for­mat at in­ter­na­tional level, with al­most three years be­fore the next global tour­na­ment.

Many of the 13,000 at the Emi­rates River­side would have been an­tic­i­pat­ing wit­ness­ing Stokes’ re­new­ing Twenty20 hos­til­i­ties with the man who clubbed him for four huge 6s to win the fi­nal in Kolkata in In­dia last April, but he has in­stead been handed a breather.

In stand­ing Stokes down from du­ties at Ch­ester-leStreet, the se­lec­tors have not only scup­pered a grand home­com­ing for a man whose stock, pro­file and wealth have soared since his nadir in Eden Gar­dens but also quashed a com­pelling nar­ra­tive in a con­test cry­ing out for one.

But Mor­gan un­der­stands that the short­est for­mat must play its part in Eng­land’s long game, par­tic­u­larly with an Aus­tralia tour on the hori­zon.

“I can see both sides of it, of course peo­ple want to see him play,” he said.

“And if there wasn’t an in­jury risk down the line or a huge Ashes tour com­ing up po­ten­tially he might be able to play. It’s un­for­tu­nate it has to be a game at his home ground but we have to stay strong with the de­ci­sions and the plans we have so down the line we don’t re­gret play­ing him in a one-off game.”

The Dubliner brushed aside sug­ges­tions Stokes ver­sus Brath­waite meant any­thing with the pair hav­ing al­ready faced off in 50-over cricket since their most fa­mous meet­ing.

“It’s noth­ing to us,” he said. “It’s a long time ago. Ben has learned a lot

“Un­for­tu­nate it has to be a game at his home ground”

since then, be­come a more se­nior, more ex­pe­ri­enced player and he’s bet­ter for the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We played West Indies in March and Ben bowled at Car­los and he got him out in the last game.”

Brath­waite may have etched him­self into Twenty20 his­tory with his bru­tal last-over as­sault yet, while Stokes has be­come one of the game’s great all­rounders and an In­dian Premier League MVP to boot, things have hardly taken off for the big-hit­ting Ba­jan.

He is not cur­rently part of the one-day in­ter­na­tional squad and will fly home af­ter cap­tain­ing this soli­tary match and has only rarely found his best form since win­ning the tro­phy for his coun­try.

“It’s some­thing I can’t get away from, they even have us play­ing at his home ground,” he said.

“So­cial me­dia won’t let me for­get it, there’s been a few videos go­ing around of late. It wasn’t just a bound­ary or a 6, it was four in a row. It was on the stage it was, it was against Eng­land and in In­dia.

“It isn’t some­thing that will be for­got­ten for a lit­tle while but I know it prob­a­bly will never hap­pen again so it’s about me be­ing as con­sis­tent as I can now.

“I still can’t be­lieve it hap­pened but thank­fully we have a Twenty20 World Cup and I have a fan­tas­tic story to tell my kids, with the video footage to prove I’m not telling a lie.

“I just want to move on in my ca­reer. It was a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment and I’m priv­i­leged I was the one to make it pos­si­ble but the ca­reer goes on long af­ter that.”

Ja­son Roy is ex­pected to open for Eng­land, push­ing his case for a re­turn to the 50-over side for the first time since be­ing dropped in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

There will also be an­other chance for Sur­rey’s Tom Cur­ran to show his in­ter­na­tional cre­den­tials af­ter tak­ing five wick­ets in his first dou­ble-header against South Africa. York­shire leg-spin­ner Adil Rashid will also re­turn to cen­tre stage hav­ing been ab­sent from the Test match team all sum­mer.

JUMP TO IT: Eng­land cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan in train­ing at Ch­ester-le-Street yes­ter­day

Brief ap­pear­ance: For West Indies cap­tain Car­los Brath­waite

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