Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory earn T20I call-ups as Eoin Morgan returns as captain

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Ben Stokes rested after stand-in role in ODIs, as Buttler returns alongside other senior players

Saqib Mahmood and Lewis Gregory have been rewarded for their stellar performances in England’s 3-0 ODI series win over Pakistan with recalls to the T20I squad, as Eoin Morgan returns to lead the side alongside eight other players who were required to self-isolate following a Covid outbreak during the Sri Lanka series earlier this month.

Mahmood was named Player of the Series in the Pakistan ODIs, after claiming nine wickets at 13.66 in the three matches. He impressed throughout with his pace, accuracy and hostility, particularly in the Powerplay, and is in line to play his first T20I since Pakistan’s last visit to England in September last year.

Gregory meanwhile was barely any less influential, with vital runs and wickets across all three matches, including a Player-of-the-Match display in the second game at Lord’s, and a crucial 77 from 69 balls at Edgbaston, as England chased a ground-record 332 to complete their series clean sweep. He too has not played T20Is since the Pakistan series last summer.

Jos Buttler, England’s vice-captain, is also back in the reckoning after missing the Sri Lanka series with a calf tear that had, at one stage, seemed likely to keep him sidelined for the entire white-ball leg of the summer.

There is, however, no place in the 16-player squad for England’s interim captain, Ben Stokes, who was recalled ahead of schedule to lead the makeshift squad, having initially been expected to continue working on his form and fitness with Durham, following the broken finger he sustained at the IPL in April.

Chris Silverwood, who had to cancel a family holiday when the Covid outbreak caused England’s squad upheaval, is set to go back on leave with Paul Collingwood returning to oversee the team’s fortunes as interim head coach.

Notable absentees from England’s last T20I squad, against Sri Lanka in June, include Sam Curran, who was named player of the series in the 3-0 clean sweep, and Chris Woakes, both of whom are likely to feature in England’s Test plans for the series against India next month, as well as Sam Billings.

Tom Banton, who was unlucky not to feature in the Sri Lanka series, returns to the squad in place of Phil Salt, who impressed as an understudy with two forceful innings in the ODIs, but there is no immediate return for Sussex’s left-arm seamer, George Garton. Jake Ball, who featured in the rejigged squad for the ODIs but did not play a match, is also included in the squad, as is the legspinner Matt Parkinson, who impressed as Adil Rashid’s understudy with five wickets at 28.00.

An ECB statement confirmed that all 16 players and support staff returned negative Covid-19 tests to clear them for the series, which gets underway at Trent Bridge on July 16.

“The Royal London Series success against Pakistan showcased the exciting depth of talent we have developed in men’s white-ball cricket,” Silverwood said.

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