Chris Silverwood explains why England’s controversial rotation selection policy will remain in place

CHRIS SILVERWOOD last night claimed that England’s controversial rotation policy has worked, despite the 3-1 hammering in India that cost his team the chance of winning the inaugural World Test Championship.

IN AND OUT: England captain Joe Root speaks with coach Chris Silverwood. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images.

The England head coach refused to criticise a policy that has been widely condemned and even suggested it could continue into next winter’s Ashes.

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Leading figures such as Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan are among those who have denounced the strategy, which saw Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, Mark Wood, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes all miss parts of the winter series in India and Sri Lanka.

The strategy was overseen by chairman of selectors Ed Smith, who Boycott described as “the first person who needs to take responsibility” for getting things “badly wrong” with “big errors”.

Silverwood believes that a policy ostensibly designed to protect the physical and mental well-being of players in a busy year has been successful, albeit many of those players will not be resting when the Indian Premier League showers them with cash.

He also confirmed that those players involved in the latter stages of the IPL would be allowed to stay for the duration of that tournament instead of playing Test cricket against New Zealand this summer, saying “it’s difficult to change anything”.

The IPL schedule was confirmed yesterday with the competition running from April 9 to May 30. The first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s starts three days after the IPL final.

GOT HIM: India's playes celebrate the wicket of england's Dom Sibley in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad. Picture: Saikat Das / Sportzpics for BCCI (via ECB).

Defending England’s rotation strategy, Silverwood said: “I think it has worked.

“You look at the amount of cricket that we’ve played, and the amount we have in front of us, we have got to be proactive in looking after our players, making sure we keep them as fresh as possible so we can keep them going as long as possible.

“When they are out on the park, you want them to concentrate on the cricket and you want them to be happy. Sometimes that means seeing your family – families want to see the dads and husbands.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to push somebody until they break and then try and pick them up. There is a whole load of cricket coming up this summer, then we very quickly disappear abroad once our summer is finished.

England bowler Jofra Archer is an ongoing injury concern. Picture: Mike Hewitt/NMC Pool/PA.

“We have to be proactive in looking after them, so it (rotating during the Ashes) is certainly something that we may have to look at, yes.”

Silverwood claimed that England are prioritising the Ashes, stating: “We talk about working our way towards the Ashes and I want the squad to arrive there fit and in form. We want to make sure everyone arrives at that point in as good a place as possible.”

One man England are especially keen for that to apply to is Jofra Archer, the injury-prone fast bowler. The 25-year-old, who has captured 42 wickets in his 13 Tests, would provide a point of difference on Australian pitches but continues to be troubled by elbow pain.

Archer missed two of the four Tests in India with the problem, although he is back in training ahead of the five-match T20 series in India that starts on Friday, and he has an IPL deal with Rajasthan Royals.

England head coach Chris Silverwood chats with all-rounder Ben Stokes. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Archer’s ability to withstand the rigours of Test cricket was again thrown into doubt after he was forced to sit out the final Test, although Silverwood insists he is not concerned.

“I wouldn’t say concerned, no, but his elbow did flare up a little bit and the medical staff are managing that at the moment,” said Silverwood, the former Yorkshire and England pace bowler.

“Obviously we’ll monitor his progress. The medical staff are talking about how we deal with this long term. It’s not something I would go out and predict (how successful that is), but we’ll find out in the course of time.”

Archer has suffered problems with the joint since the 2019 World Cup, breaking down on a subsequent tour to South Africa and later being diagnosed with a stress fracture.

Silverwood said he did not know whether surgery was an option for the player.

“I’m not sure surgery has come up yet,” he added. “I’ll be guided by the medics on that. The important thing for me at the moment is that Jofra gets every resource we can provide to make sure he does have a long and successful Test career.”

* Scarborough Cricket Club has confirmed that it will host the Royal London Cup game between Durham and Gloucestershire on July 29.

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