England to consider rotating Ben Stokes - Chris Silverwood

Stokes will likely play against the West Indies in the third Test only if he is fit and healthy, says coach Silverwood.

Ben Stokes shone with bat and ball to help England defeat West Indies in the second Test at Old Trafford.   -  AP

England will “consider rotating” all-rounder Ben Stokes even though his presence makes it a better team, coach Chris Silverwood said ahead of the third Test against the West Indies.

Stokes scored 176 and an unbeaten 78 in the two innings besides taking three wickets to help his side beat West Indies by 113 runs in the second Test to tie the three-match series 1-1. His performance also earned him the No. 1 position in the ICC all-rounder rankings, displacing West Indies captain Jason Holder.

“We want him out there as much as we can; everyone can see how good he is,” Silverwood said. “But you know what, we’re going to consider rotating him. He’s been at the centre of the last couple of games and we’ve got to make sure he’s O.K. But if he is fit and healthy, he’ll play.”

Stokes had pulled himself out midway through his 15th over in West Indies’ second innings but later insisted there was “absolutely nothing to worry about.”

Silverwood said Stokes would have to “rein” himself in during training as he was always looking push himself. “He’ll keep pushing himself, which is why he is as good as he is,” said Silverwood. “But from a training perspective we try and rein him in where possible and keep him as fit as a fiddle because I know we’re a better team with him out there. We’ve got to look after him the best we can.”

‘Strongest attack’

England picked James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood to form the pace attack for the opening Test, but went for Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran in the second. With many seamers at his disposal, Silverwood will face a selection headache but he said he was determined to pick the “strongest attack” to win the third Test.

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“We’ve got to put out the strongest attack out that’s available to us. It’s very difficult to keep everybody happy all the time. But if you do things for the right reason, I think there’s an understanding there,” he said.

“Everyone wants to play all the time and I’d probably be more disappointed if they didn’t. When you’re leaving out world-class players, from my point of view it’s a very good place for English cricket to be. It’s never easy and you’re always going to get pushback. But you try to be as honest as possible,” Silverwood added.

Silverwood also hinted that both Dom Bess and Jos Buttler might keep their spots in the third Test. “I thought Bessy got better and better as the game went on. He found his rhythm and the last few overs he came to the forefront. All the options are on the table but Dom is the spinner that’s in possession at the moment,” Silverwood said.

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