David Lloyd has questioned England’s decision to rest Ben Stokes for the Twenty20 against West Indies on Saturday.
Stokes will sat out of the solitary T20 match at his home ground of Durham as England look to manage his workload ahead of the Ashes.
The 26-year-old has developed into a stand-out player in all three formats but has previously struggled with a knee injury and England will need him at his best if they are to beat Australia this winter.
Stokes insists he had a say on whether or not to play but former England batsman Lloyd told Sky Sports: ‘As for England, I don’t understand why Ben Stokes is rested unless he’s not 100 per cent fit.
‘Ben will play on one leg so the selectors might be doing it for his own good. He’s carried a knee injury in the Tests but bowled 14 overs on the trot at Lord’s! You can’t get the ball out of his hand!
‘He went off the field again in the second innings, limping, so although it’s a frustrating one it might just be for his own good.’
England legend Ian Botham expressed his frustration at Stokes’ absence, writing in a column for the Daily Mirror: ‘I feel for the people at the club who have put in so much hard work around this game and built a lot of our promotion around Ben.’
Stokes admits he understands fans will be left frustrated by his absence but defended England’s decision by saying: ‘It was a collective decision from myself, [coach] Trevor Bayliss and the selectors.
‘With the game being played at my local ground where I’ve played all of my cricket I understand that people are going to be upset.
‘Being an all-forms player, it’s very tough to get a rest – even if it is just two or three days here or there, it can do your body a lot of good.’