Australia will be counting on the stars of the Big Bash to step up when they attempt to stop the rot in a five-match Twenty20 International series against in-form New Zealand.

Aaron Finch's side go into the first match of the series at Hagley Oval on Monday looking to avoid a third consecutive series defeat following losses to England and India.

The Black Caps, on the other hand, have won their last two against West Indies and Pakistan as they build momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup, which starts in October.

Australia will be without the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc, with 19-year-old spinner Tanveer Sangha set to make his debut and Jhye Richardson back in the squad.

Richardson, Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson should have a spring in their step after landing lucrative Indian Premier League deals this week.

Paceman Richardson has not played a T20 for his country for two years, but gets the chance to put shoulder injury woes behind him after an impressive Big Bash campaign.

There were doubts over Martin Guptill's fitness for the opening game in Christchurch, with the promising Finn Allen on standby, but the dangerous New Zealand opener is expected to be available.

Jhye on a high after striking it rich

Richardson was the leading wicket-taker in the Big Bash with 29 for Perth Scorchers, prompting Punjab Kings to fork out 14 crore (£1.4m) for his services.

He said after going for such big money in Thursday's auction: "It felt like I wasn't watching it. After everything that's happened you are obviously really excited then you hit this massive wall, it was pretty late, I had all this emotion, all the adrenaline, a load of messages coming through on my phone and then completely crashed and felt exhausted.

"I feel like I played a game, mentally exhausted myself. Still sinking in, that's for sure. I think it's an amazing result. It's life-changing to be honest.

Maxwell went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for the same fee, while Riley Meredith will face Australia's trans-Tasman rivals on the back of also being picked up by Punjab. Jamieson will be out to show why RCB paid 14.25cr (£1.5m) to land him.

 

Guptill backed to show class is permanent

Guptill has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but the 34-year-old appears to be ready to start the series.

Although Guptill is comfortably New Zealand's leading run scorer in the shortest format, he is in a poor run of form, but head coach Gary Stead has backed the explosive right-hander to come good.

"Gups is a class player and has been a class player for a long time. Form and what people do while in form can change perceptions so quickly," said Stead.

"But we have a number of people who are capable of playing international cricket and that's exciting for us."

 

Key series facts

- This will be the sixth meeting between the Black Caps and Australia in New Zealand in T20Is and their first at Hagley Oval. New Zealand have won only once against Australia in this format on home soil.

- New Zealand have lost only one of their last five completed T20Is at home (W4). Their only previous match at Hagley Oval ended in a seven-wicket loss to England (November 2019).

- Australia have the highest catching success rate of any Test-playing nation in the shortest format since the start of last year (91.8 per cent); New Zealand have taken 75 per cent of their catching opportunities in that time.

- Sangha took 21 wickets at an average of 18.3 in the recent Big Bash, the most by a teenager in a single edition of the competition.

- Guptill has scored 217 runs in T20 matches between the trans-Tasman rivals. He is just 12 runs shy of eclipsing Brendon McCullum’s record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228).

Former West Indies fast bowler and Barbados cricketer, Ian Bradshaw, would not be in favour of replacing team captain Jason Holder just yet but believes questions regarding the player’s state of mind must be cleared up.

On the back of an impressive effort in marshaling the squad to defeat Bangladesh, in a two-Test series last week, calls have arisen for Kraigg Brathwaite to lead the team, ahead of regular captain Holder, for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

Holder missed out on the team’s tour of Bangladesh after being one of 12 players to pull out of the campaign due to health and safety concerns.  In addition, however, the captain, who had led the team to previous tours of England and New Zealand, also admitted to experiencing a high level of fatigue, particularly having gone through several weeks of quarantine.

For Bradshaw, provided he is in a good mental state, Holder should resume his duties leading the squad.

“I would support the retention of Jason if it is that we understand his state of mind at this time,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Jason has been earmarked as our long-term captain.  Let’s recall that he’s had some success and we were very excited when we won the Wisden Trophy.  He has had some success and he has been molding the team,” he added.

“He has led by example and I would want to sit down with him and understand the challenges he was going through.  Because if he is still challenged it may need a situation where he is given that space to ensure that his individual performance does not suffer.”

Holder was appointed captain of the team in 2015.

 

West Indies fast bowling legend, Curtly Ambrose, has not been selected for the position of England Cricket Board (ECB) elite pace-bowling coach, despite making the shortlist of candidates interviewed.

The ECB put out an advertisement for three vacant positions, pace-bowling coach, spin-bowling coach and batting coach, in December.  Interviews were conducted in recent weeks after applications closed last month.

Ambrose, who made known that he had applied for the post a few weeks ago, revealed that he had been contacted but unfortunately was not selected for the post.

“I got a call from one of the panellists yesterday [Thursday] to inform me that I was unsuccessful in my bid. The interview went very well. There were four panellists and everything went according to plan and I thought I did a wonderful job, so I was pretty excited. I thought I probably would have made it but I am not going to really worry too much about it. To have made the shortlist is a step in the right direction obviously,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

With the Ashes on the horizon, Ambrose, who has taken 128 wickets against Australia (fourth-best all-time, with the best economy rate among the top 5), admits that he was hoping that his previously dominant performances down under might have weighed in his favour.

“I was expecting to be part of the squad considering the World T20 coming up and, of course, the Ashes. You know that when England play Australia in the Ashes, it’s a big one and I thought that maybe because of my tremendous success in Australia that it would have, at least, given me an extra step, but it didn’t work out and I am quite happy with how everything went. In life, we get some good news and some not so good, and you learn to accept it and move on,” he said.

The 57-year-old previously worked as West Indies bowling consultant between 2014 and 2016.  He was replaced by Roddy Estwick.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper, Deryck Murray, believes there should be a serious consideration for Kraigg Brathwaite to remain captain on the back of the team’s strong showing against Bangladesh.

Brathwaite, who took charge of the regional squad after Holder and several others opted out of the tour, after citing health and safety concerns, has widely been credited for unifying the team under difficult circumstances.

Holder, on the other hand, has had a difficult spell in charge over the last several months with lopsided losses to England and New Zealand.  Albeit triumphing against more lowly ranked opposition, Murray believes Brathwaite was able to pull exceptional performances out of the squad and is in favour of keeping momentum.

 “It is something that you have to talk about very seriously.  I do not discard Kraigg Brathwaite as Test captain automatically,” Murray told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“You need to look at the team that we are going to put together, and if it is that there is going to be four or five players from this (Bangladesh tour) team there is a strong case for doing that (retaining Brathwaite),” he added.

“There is a strong case for saying to Jason Holder ‘come back, don’t have the pressures of captaincy on you.  You are going to be the central all-rounder in this team.  You are going to bat at six, we need you to attack as a bowler, be a wicket-taking bowler, not a containing bowler as the fourth seamer in the team, and therefore we need to have the best available team at that time.”

“The team who is coming with the confidence of just being successful.  Rallying around the team that we are going to build for the next three or four months because we have two or three series coming up in quick succession.  We have to make sure we are doing that and that we don’t suddenly say ‘yep these players have done it but we are not putting too much emphasis on that.”

 

 

A last-wicket stand of 85 between Man-of-the-Match Jeavor Royal and Fabian Allen paved the way for Jamaica Scorpions close six-run-win by Duckworth/Lewis over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes earlier today.

Mark Wood revealed he withdrew from the Indian Premier League auction so he could spend time with his family and to ensure he was not "goosed mentally or physically" in a big year for England.

Wood had put himself forward for an IPL stint at the highest base price (2 crore/£200,000), but opted out on the eve of the auction this week.

The paceman's decision came after he flew to India for the remainder of the Test series, five Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs.

Wood, who was given time off after the Sri Lanka tour last month, says playing for England in his priority, with the T20 World Cup and an Ashes series in Australia to come after a busy summer on home soil - including facing India again.

The quick said: "I'm going to spend six weeks here in India and then it would be another eight weeks on top of that, so that's 14 weeks.

"We're in a strange situation with COVID and unfortunately you can't see your families during that winter period coming out with India, like we usually do. 

"I just wanted to be able to switch off, recharge and go back home for the second reason, which is being ready for England. 

"I've tried to prioritise that and think later on in the year we've got loads of cricket going on and I don't want my body to fail me or be a bit goosed mentally or physically going into the back of the year, with a World Cup, Ashes and big series against India at home.

"I wanted to make sure I was ready from that point of view and have some family time because this block is a long time away from home."

England all-rounder Moeen Ali was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings for £700,000 on Thursday and although Wood knows he may have missed out on a lucrative deal, the 31-year-old hopes to get another chance to play in the IPL.

"Obviously there's been some big names gone for some big money and never begrudge them that, I think it's life-changing money, so it was a difficult decision for me," he said on Friday.

"The plus side is you're not just going for money reasons, you want to prove [yourself] hopefully going into the World T20 and learn some skills. Plus I feel like I've got a little bit of unfinished business with the IPL, I feel like I didn't do very well well in one game for Chennai last time [in 2018].

"I'd like another crack at some point, I just didn't feel like the time was right. Every player has their own decision, but for me it was to prioritise my family and England."

Fast bowler Akeem Jordan took the third five-wicket haul of his List A career to bowl Barbados Pride to a huge win over Windward Islands Volcanoes on Thursday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Operating from the Sir Andy Roberts End, Jordan ended with 5-26 in a superb 10-over spell to dismiss Volcanoes for 113 in the 35th over as Barbados won by 173 runs.

Jordan made an impactful return to the starting XI and was the obvious choice for the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match award. He struck twice in the 14th over when opener Andre Fletcher hit a powerful drive to mid-off and was well caught by Jason Holder diving forward. Kevin Stoute fell two balls later, as he received sharp, lifting delivery which took under-edge and was taken by keeper Shai Hope.

At 72-4, Volcanoes suffered a major blow when skipper Sunil Ambris became Jordan's third victim, caught at deep square-leg and they never recovered. Fast bowler Chemar Holder (2-27) and left-arm spinner Joshua Bishop (2-33) also bowled well.

Earlier opener Justin Greaves (76) and Shamarh Brooks (61) combined to propel Pride to 286-8 off their 50 overs.

The pair added 135 for the second wicket as Greaves hit eight fours and a six while Brooks hit four fours and three sixes. Left-hander Jonathan Carter then made 49 off 54 balls with 36 of his runs coming in boundaries, to maintain his good form following previous knocks of 58 and 56.

“It feels great, after not having as good a debut (for Barbados) as I would have liked, to come back with the support of my team-mates, family and friends, I think I made everyone proud today,” Jordan said. “I was relaxed and I just came and did what I normally would do and enjoyed today’s performance. We needed this win … it was well set up by the batsmen, and I was happy to play my part in the overall outcome.”

 Friday: Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Jamaica Scorpions at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. First ball is 9 am (8 am Jamaica Time)

There was little interest in West Indies players at the 2021 IPL Auction held in Chennai earlier today.

Chris Morris became the most expensive signing in the history of the Indian Premier League as franchises filled out their rosters during Thursday's auction in Chennai. 

Morris was eventually signed by Rajasthan Royals - who he played for in 2015 - following a bidding war that saw four teams battling it out to secure the services of the South African all-rounder. 

His final price finished up at 16.25crore, which equates to around £1.6million, putting him ahead of Yuvraj Singh (16cr) on the list of biggest auction purchases in the global Twenty20 tournament.

"I'm super-stoked, super-humbled to be joining Rajasthan again," Morris said in a video message posted by his new team on Twitter.

"I had an unbelievably good time, and a good season, one of the better times in my cricket career, with Rajasthan in 2015, so I'm unbelievably happy, unbelievably excited.

"We have a very good squad, so joining up with Rajasthan is a very cool experience."

Royal Challengers Bangalore were big spenders in their bid to secure a maiden title this year, getting New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson for 14.25cr (£1.5m) having already signed Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (14cr - £1.4m) for a fraction less than that earlier in proceedings. 

Jhye Richardson also collected a huge deal, snapped up for the same price as compatriot Maxwell by Punjab Kings, who added another Australian paceman to their roster in Riley Meredith, who has yet to play international cricket in any format. 

Having been released by Rajasthan Royals at the start of this year, Steve Smith is now a member of the Delhi Capitals, along with India fast bowler Umesh Yadav and Englishman Sam Billings. 

Moeen Ali saw a considerable rise from his base price, the England all-rounder eventually going for a final sum of £700,000 to Chennai Super Kings. 

While a premium was paid for pace bowling during the auction, the market was a little less frantic for batsmen. 

Dawid Malan – who sits top of the International Cricket Council's batting rankings in the shortest format – will play for Punjab Kings, but English openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy both went unsold. 

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is heading back to the Kolkata Knight Riders for 3.2crore (£315,000), while Krishnappa Gowtham went for 9.25crore (£900,000) to the Super Kings, making him the most expensive uncapped India player ever.

As for Mumbai Indians, the main additions by the two-time defending champions came to their bowling attack as they added Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. 

The 14th edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin during April and run into May. Last year's delayed tournament was staged in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam Curran has been ruled out of England's plans for the ongoing Test series against India because flying him in for the fourth match would have been too complicated.

It had been intended that Curran would travel to Ahmedabad to be available for what will be England's final Test of the tour, starting on March 4.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday that "making secure arrangements for such a journey proved too great a logistical challenge".

Surrey all-rounder Curran played in both of England's Tests against Sri Lanka in January, but he returned home after the series – alongside Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood – in order to take a break from the team's biosecure bubble.

While Bairstow and Wood have returned to training and are expected to be able to play in the third Test next week, Curran was given extra time off. The 22-year-old, who also represented Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, has spent extended time in team bubbles since July 2020.

England take on India in five Twenty20 internationals and three ODI matches throughout March, and Curran will join members of the limited-overs squad travelling on a charter flight on February 26. He will arrive too late to be considered for the final Test, the ECB indicated.

With no direct flights available from the United Kingdom, Curran would have had to make a stop-over on his way to the Ahmedabad Test. That would have added more risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, while he would have had to isolate on his arrival in India had any other passenger on his commercial flights returned a positive test.

An ECB spokesman said: "To give Sam the best chance of minimising his risk of exposure to the virus, it was decided to delay his return so that he could travel on the charter flight with the white-ball squad members due to fly on 26 February."

Over 21 Tests with England, Curran has taken 44 wickets for an average of 32.52, while he has 14 limited-overs wickets to his name.

Anand Sanasie says he will focus on improving team performance, strengthening regional cricket and revolutionizing grassroots cricket if he becomes the next president of Cricket West Indies at the next Annual General Meeting on March 29.

He also makes a case for improving women's cricket and expanding the sport into the North American market stating that now is the time for CWI to adopt more visionary policies.

In a lengthy statement released Wednesday night, Sanasie outlined the pillars of his manifesto as he formally announced his challenge to the presidency of Ricky Skerritt, who is in the latter stages of the role he won in March 2019 when he unseated then-incumbent Dave Cameron.

Sanasie, the long-standing secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) said his decision to run for the presidency had been a year in the making.

“Over the past year, several directors of CWI along with many stakeholders across the region have reached out to me and sought to persuade me that I should consider serving as CWI President. Over the past months I have given it deep thought and consideration, discussed it with my family and the executives of the Guyana Cricket Board and today I consider it a distinct honour to announce that I will be contesting the CWI presidency,” Sanasie said in the statement.

“I am equally honoured to also announce that I will be contesting along with a stalwart of West Indies Cricket administration, my colleague Mr Calvin Hope of Barbados. Calvin and I have consulted widely across the region and out of these consultations we have developed a detailed manifesto which we will be unveiling in the coming weeks.”

He identified what he said are the key pillars of that manifesto.

“First we recognize that the performance of the West Indies Team serves as a barometer for the state of West Indies Cricket and as the only constant in the regional psyche. Therefore, the West Indies Team Performance is one central pillar,” he said.

“Secondly, regional cricket is what supplies and fortifies the West Indies Team. The territorial boards manage the production line of elite players for the West Indies teams. We believe that regional cricket requires greater investment from the CWI level and will implement a system of greater sponsorship share and larger annual subvention to each territorial board.”

He also stated that for there to be any sustained success of the West Indies team there needed to be a better grassroots programmes across the region.

“Thirdly, he said, regional cricket and ultimately the West Indies Team is only as strong as our grassroots cricket programmes. We believe that there needs to be the renewed focus, revitalization and a revolution in grassroots and school cricket all across the Caribbean.”

Sanasie also announced plans to return power to the territorial boards, increase support to women’s cricket and tap into the potential massive US market.

“We recognize, critically that over the past two years, there has been a systematic centralization of power and decision making and the ostracization and miniaturization of the territorial boards who are the shareholders of West Indies Cricket acting on behalf of the people of the Caribbean,” he said.

On Women’s cricket: “Our team will place renewed and heavier emphasis on the development of women’s cricket, focusing on girls’ cricket in the form of training, competition and tournaments, camps and succession planning. The West Indies Women’s Team must be consistently among the best in the world and we will ensure there is a comprehensive strategic measurable programme in place to achieve this.”

With regards to the tapping into the US, Sanasie said:

“Cricket globally is in the throes of rapid transformation from the perception of a lethargic past time to high energy, desirable entertainment. West Indies cricket and CWI must be at the forefront of this transformation.

“West Indies Cricket must also meaningfully and purposefully pursue expansion into the vast and lucrative North American market as a critical plank of augmenting and guaranteeing financial stability. This requires a planned strategic approach which our Team will pursue with the United States cricket authorities through partnership, collaboration and synergies. The US market is poised for transformative and explosive take-off and as the leading cricket governing body in this hemisphere, CWI can both partner with and offer support and guidance to Cricket USA for our mutual benefit.

It is not long before T20 cricket and other variations of the shorter game become staples on the US sporting and entertainment calendar.

It is now time for the executive leadership and governance of Cricket West Indies to transition from raw political horse-trading and a centralized hoarding of power to professional, visionary and astute policy-making based on equity, transparency, fairness and demonstrable competence.”

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force maintained their unbeaten run in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup with a nine-wicket win over Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Coolidge Cricket Ground on Wednesday night.

The Red Force bowled out the home side for 129 and then motored to 130-1 off 24.5 overs. It was their fourth win and earned them a spot in the semi-finals.

Sunil Narine, playing his 100th List A match, was brilliant as he took 3-36 from his 10 overs. One of his wickets came from a perfectly flighted off-break which turned a long way and rattled the stumps of Terrence Warde.

However, fast bowler Ravi Rampaul was named the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match for his excellent new-ball spell and took 3-17 from seven overs.

The top score for the Hurricanes came from opener Kieran Powell (29), while Hayden WalshJjr chipped in with 26.

The Red Force them reached the target with little bother as Kjorn Ottley and Jason Mohammed shared an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 93. Ottley made 47 not out with six fours and a six over cover, while Mohammed remained unbeaten on 40 off 55 balls with four boundaries.

 Evin Lewis gave the innings a flying start as he smashed two sixes and three fours in 28 off 27 balls, but fell, caught at point off pacer Quinton Boatswain.

Rampaul was quite pleased with his contribution and the outcome.

“I am very happy with the performance of all our bowlers throughout this tournament. I’ve been putting some hard work in the conditions and I reaped the rewards today (Wednesday),” he said at the conclusion of the match.

“It feels great to get the Man-of-the-Match.  It’s always a pleasure to play for my country and I’m really enjoying it. I grew up playing with a lot of my team-mates and it’s been good fun. We believe we can win and we want to win."

Thursday: Windward Islands Volcanoes vs Barbados Pride at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. First ball is 9 am (8 am Jamaica Time).

 

 

Secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board Anand Sanasie has confirmed to Sportsmax.TV that he will challenge incumbent Ricky Skerritt for the presidency of Cricket West Indies at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) set for March 29.

“I can confirm that I have been nominated by two full members,” Sanasie told Sportsmax.TV today. he declined to elaborate saying he will be issuing a formal statement on his intentions between tonight and Thursday morning.

Sanasie's confirmation came after cricket commentator and talk show host Andrew Mason reported that Sanasie, the long-serving secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board will challenge Skerritt for the presidency and that his likely running mate will be Calvin Hope, Vice President of the Barbados Cricket Board, who is also a CWI Director.

The pair, Mason reported, has the support of Guyana and Barbados and are confident of making inroads into “Skerritt territory”.

Nominations close on Thursday.

The ticket of Skerritt and Dr Kishore Shallow defeated then-incumbent Dave Cameron and Emmanuel Nanthan 8-4 in March 2019 after a contentious campaign.

 

Windward Islands Volcanoes recorded their second win of the CG Insurance Super50 Cup as they beat Jamaica Scorpions by 92 runs at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on Tuesday night.

Volcanoes made 260-8 off their 50 overs as left-hander Keron Cottoy top-scored with a 64 off 47 balls with four fours and five sixes.

In reply, Jamaica had a bad start were 61-5 in the 15th over before being bowled out for 168 in the 37th over. Left-arm spinner Larry Edward celebrated his 26th birthday in style with a match-winning spell of 3-36 off 10 overs.

When Windwards batted, Andre Fletcher made 60 from 51 balls at the top of the order with four fours and three sixes.

Cottoy was named the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match, as he continued his good form to follow up his career-best 72 in the previous match against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force. Volcanoes were 171-5 after 40 overs but Cottoy raised the tempo with a number of breathtaking shots as and the last 10 overs yielded 89 runs.

Andre McCarthy top-scored for Jamaica with a run-a-ball 55 which included six fours and a six as he maintained good form - his previous knocks were 48 against Guyana Jaguars and 40 against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force.

Fabian Allen played a number of brave shots in 39 from 43 balls. At the end, Fletcher showed his new skill set as a leg-spinner and captured the last two wickets.

“It’s always good to perform for your team especially in victories. I’m just glad I’ve been able to put up my hand and bat deep into the innings and it paid dividends,” said Cottoy. “We have to take it one game at a time although it feels good to win two out of three.”

Today:  Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at Coolidge Cricket Ground. First ball is 1:30pm (12:30pm Jamaica Time)

Chris Silverwood has apologised to Moeen Ali over the miscommunication of why he will play no further part in England's Test series against India.

England captain Joe Root stated that all-rounder Moeen had chosen to go home following a crushing defeat in the second Test in Chennai on Monday.

Root suggested Moeen needed a break from life in a bio-secure bubble, with the selectors also managing workloads in a such a hectic year for England.

Head coach Silverwood set the record straight on Wednesday, stating it had already been decided that Moeen – who tested positive for COVID-19 early in the tour of Sri Lanka last month – would fly home.

Silverwood said: "First of all, we're sorry. The impression we gave yesterday was Moeen's been treated different to other people. He isn't, I can guarantee you that.

"The decision for him to go home was ours as it was with [Jos] Buttler, Sam [Curran], [Jonny] Bairstow and [Mark] Wood, to be honest. So, we're happy to own that decision.

"It was a unique situation with Moeen. He had spent so long in isolation, getting COVID out in Sri Lanka, and he had just broken back into the team. The question was posed to him [over whether he wanted to stay in India], do you know what I mean?

"We try and work as closely as we can with players to make sure they get the best opportunities as well as looking after them. So it was asked. But ultimately, we felt it was the right decision for him to go home."

Silverwood said Moeen understands the team management policy after he took eight wickets before smashing a quickfire 43 in his first Test since August 2019.

He added: "I think it's the life we're living at the moment. We have to prioritise looking after our players and we're doing the best we can. Being locked in a bubble for long periods of time is difficult, especially with people who have families at home.

"We have to be very respectful that people need to see families. And equally families need to see them as well.

"We touched base with Mo last night – as did Joe – and he was fine. He understands we've got his best interests at heart and we're trying to look after him just like all the other players in the strange times we're in."

Former England seamer Silverwood says Moeen can still have a big part to play for his country in the longest format.

"We're trying to build a big group of players we can use moving forward," Silverwood said. "The planning and building for the Ashes started a long time ago and we're continuing to build that group of players.

"At any given point, anybody can play. Moeen is a very big part of that."

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