Ben Stokes: Eoin Morgan says England right to rest all-rounder for T20

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes averages 14 with the bat and 48 with the ball in 21 T20 internationals
England v West Indies: Twenty20
Venue: Emirates Riverside Date: Saturday 16 September Time: 18:30 BST
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website on desktop, tablet and app

Captain Eoin Morgan says England are right to rest Ben Stokes for Saturday's Twenty20 against West Indies at Chester-le-Street.

Durham are unhappy the all-rounder will not play on his home ground, having focused on him to market the game.

Stokes, 26, will play in the five-match one-day series that follows, and is set to be a key figure in England's Ashes campaign in Australia this winter.

"It's unfortunate it has to be a game at his home ground," said Morgan.

"But we have to stay strong with the decisions and plans we have so down the line we don't regret playing him in a one-off game."

All-rounder Moeen Ali has also been rested for the T20.

The sold-out T20 is the first international to be staged at Chester-le-Street since Durham lost the right to host Tests as part of their punishment by the England & Wales Cricket Board for financial problems.

Durham chief executive David Harker told BBC Newcastle: "We're encouraged to get people in this part of the world interested in cricket and having Ben here playing for England would have been the icing on the cake.

"We can't pretend we're anything other than very disappointed for the young people who won't see their hero."

Earlier this month, former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham described the decision to rest Stokes as a "kick in the teeth".

England v West Indies limited-overs schedule
16 Sept: Only T20, Chester-le-Street (18:00 BST)
19 Sept: 1st ODI, Old Trafford (12:30)
21 Sept: 2nd ODI, Trent Bridge (12:30)
24 Sept: 3rd ODI, Bristol (11:00)
27 Sept: 4th ODI, The Oval (12:30)
29 Sept: 5th ODI, Southampton (12:30)

Morgan, 31, said: "I can see both sides of it - of course guys want to see him play.

"If there wasn't an injury risk down the line or a huge Ashes tour coming up potentially he might be able to play."

England pace bowler Liam Plunkett told BBC Radio Newcastle: "You've got a lot of cricket coming up and the last thing you want is to get burnt out.

"It might be the best chance in that calendar to give him a week off and recharge the batteries."

Stokes has played in all seven England Tests this year and 12 of their 15 ODIs.

He did not play in the three T20s against South Africa because he was released to play for Durham in the inaugural round of day-night County Championship matches.

Carlos Brathwaite, who hit Stokes for four successive sixes in the final over as West Indies won the World T20 final in 2016, will captain the tourists.

The match is his only involvement on the tour. He was not part of the Test squad that lost the series 2-1, and will return home before the ODI series begins at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Brathwaite, 29, says he will give his players the "freedom to go out and express themselves" in Durham.

"I prefer that to guys thinking 'what would the coach or the captain want?'" he said.

"As Caribbean players we bring a lot of flair to the game. You can see it in our wicket celebrations, the dance moves and whatnot.

"With bat or ball, that is always the message: have fun, express yourself."

Carlos Brathwaite
Carlos Brathwaite was appointed West Indies T20 captain last summer

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