England may stick with rotation and rest players for Ashes, says Silverwood

FILE PHOTO: Third Test - England v Pakistan - Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - August 23, 2020 England head coach Chris Silverwood with England's Joe Root before play, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Mike Hewitt/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - England are likely to continue rotating players, including in the Ashes series against Australia that begins at the end of the year, to manage their workload, coach Chris Silverwood said on Sunday.

England rigidly stuck to their policy during their 3-1 series defeat by India, opting to rest multi-format players at different stages of their tour to help them cope better with the challenges of living in strict bio-secure environments.

Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes were among those who missed parts of the series against Sri Lanka and India.

"I think it has worked," Silverwood told reporters. "When they're out on the park you want them to concentrate on cricket, 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's a whole load of cricket coming up this summer, then we very quickly disappear abroad once our summer is finished.

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

India said on Sunday that the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will begin in Chennai on April 9, with the final set for May 30, and Silverwood said some players could miss a test match against New Zealand.

England players featuring in the knockout stages of the Twenty20 tournament could be unavailable to face New Zealand in the series opener at Lord's starting on June 2.

"We haven't looked at selection for the test yet but, for me, playing for your country is a big thing," Silverwood said. "It's difficult to change anything, so they'll be staying for the whole IPL as it stands."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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