The more delirious and sleep-deprived England fans who are still reeling from the final Test thriller in New Zealand might not be ready for the first of three ODIs in Bangladesh, but captain Jos Buttler insists the series is “exactly the kind of challenge we need” ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
“All our preparation is geared towards that World Cup and these are the conditions that will probably be the closest that we can get to playing in India,” said Buttler, ahead of England’s final ODIs before the tournament kicks off in India this October.
Matthew Mott’s side will be without a number of key men due to injury and scheduling problems. The proximity to the Test series in New Zealand means Joe Root and Harry Brook are unavailable, while Alex Hales has opted to play in the Pakistan Super League instead.
The two are not mutually exclusive, as Moeen Ali will participate in both – he is just four wickets shy of the 100 mark in ODIs – and Ben Duckett will fly to Bangladesh for the T20s after featuring in the recent Tests. However, the ECB are happy for Hales to miss the Bangladesh ODIs and Mott has promised the decision will not hamper his chances of being named in the World Cup squad.
“When we sit down to pick that squad for the World Cup, we won’t hold a grudge against anyone who’s not taken this opportunity,” Mott said. “It’s an invitation to play and we totally understand if there are other factors at play.”
Hales has only recently been reintroduced into the fold with a string of disciplinary issues leading former England captain Eoin Morgan resolute that he would not be picked under his leadership for showing a “complete disregard” for the team’s values.
The World Cup is not the only focus, though – in an Ashes year Brendon McCullum will have one eye on Jofra Archer’s fitness, with Mark Wood also bolstering England’s ODI attack on the notoriously flat wickets of the sub-continent.
Big-hitter Will Jacks has been drafted in to replace Tom Abell, who suffered another setback – this time a side strain – on England Lions duty during the tour of Sri Lanka.
Jacks is in line to make his ODI debut – as is 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed, who sent records tumbling in his Test breakthrough against Pakistan at the end of last year. There is a chance that Ahmed will be rested until later in the series, having missed two days of training through illness.
How to watch Bangladesh vs England
In addition to Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) and Sky Sports Main Event (401), the ODIs will also be shown for free on the ECB website.
Sky eventually secured the rights for the series, but only after a protracted stand-off with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
It’s reported that broadcasters are now anticipating a dip in interest from viewers due to an already congested schedule and the lack of an obvious format; while the World Test Championship aimed to attach some meaning to every match in the longer format, isolated ODI series do not carry the same sense of jeopardy or purpose.
When are the ODIs?
- 1st ODI – Wednesday 1 March, 6am, Sher-E-Bangla
- 2nd ODI – Friday 3 March, 6am, Sher-E-Bangla
- 3rd ODI – Monday 6 March, 6am, Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium
All times GMT
England have not won any of their last four ODI series, defeated by Australia and and India and managing one tied series and one lost against South Africa.
Bangladesh are in formidable form too, winning 12 of their last 13 series in home conditions, completing a 2-1 victory over India in December. There is one big question mark against Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, who ought to be among their biggest threats but who are said to have fallen out, at least according to the BCB’s president Najmul Huq Papon.
England’s ODI squad
- Jos Buttler (captain – Lancashire)
- Will Jacks (Surrey)
- Rehan Ahmed (Leicestershire)
- Moeen Ali (Warwickshire)
- Jofra Archer (Sussex)
- Sam Curran (Surrey)
- Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
- Dawid Malan (Yorkshire)
- Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
- Jason Roy (Surrey)
- Phil Salt (Lancashire)
- Reece Topley (Surrey)
- James Vince (Hampshire)
- Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
- Mark Wood (Durham)