England set to resist temptation to open batting with Ben Stokes after his stunning unbeaten IPL century last month as they seek to go top of the Twenty20 rankings in South Africa
- England will start three-match T20 series in South Africa in Cape Town on Friday
- Ben Stokes is set to remain in the middle order batting at No 5 or No 6
- Stokes would have likely swapped positions with current opener Jos Buttler
- Stokes hit an unbeaten 107 from 60 balls for the Rajasthan Royals as an opener
- Team-mate Buttler also featured in the IPL clash last month in the middle order
England plan to resist swapping big guns Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in the batting order as they seek to go top of the Twenty20 rankings in South Africa.
That is despite Stokes’s IPL fireworks as an opener for Rajasthan Royals. He hit 107 not out from just 60 balls in Abu Dhabi last month, while franchise team-mate Buttler ended up in the middle order.
But head coach Chris Silverwood suggested the pair would remain in their customary positions going into the three-match T20 series against the South Africans, starting on Friday in Cape Town. That means Buttler opening, with Stokes at No 5 or No 6.
Ben Stokes is set to remain in the middle order for England in their T20 opener in South Africa
Stokes was considered to swap with opener Jos Buttler (left) for the Cape Town clash on Friday
‘It’s great that those two guys get experience of doing different things and it doesn’t ever hurt them as players to explore different options,’ said Silverwood. ‘We’re pretty certain about the way we want to go. We’re blessed with the batsmen we’ve got here, world-class players capable of doing a multitude of jobs.’
England can reclaim the No 1 ranking they held for less than 48 hours last summer against Australia, but only if they whitewash South Africa 3-0. Their chances have been boosted by the hosts’ chaotic preparations.
Four members of their squad are in self-isolation after two tested positive for Covid-19, causing a practice match to be cancelled.
And South Africa’s scheduled training session yesterday in Paarl was washed out, leaving all but the six members of Quinton de Kock’s squad who took part in the recent IPL dangerously raw.
England coach Chris Silverwood though has suggested there will be no tweak in positions