Bayliss defends resting Stokes in Durham

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Ben Stokes has played two previous international matches at Chester-le-Street

England coach Trevor Bayliss has defended the decision to rest all-rounder Ben Stokes for the Twenty20 international against West Indies.

The game, on 16 September, is a sell-out at Stokes’ Durham home ground of Chester-le-Street.

Writing in the Mirror, former England all-rounder and Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham criticised the move.

“It was a collective decision between the management and the player in that Ben needed a break,” said Bayliss.

“It is just unfortunate that it is a one-off T20 at Durham. We need him fresh and ready to go for an important one-day series against a strong West Indies side.

“The fact the game is at Durham is a coincidence. We’re mindful we’ve got a busy winter coming up and finding a gap is difficult.”

Stokes joins fellow all-rounder Moeen Ali in being left out of a repeat of the 2016 World T20 final, which England lost.

Both men are available for the five-match one-day series that follows, England’s last international fixtures before this winter’s Ashes tour.

Botham described the decision to leave Stokes out of the T20 as a “kick in the teeth”.

“I don’t believe for one minute that Ben wouldn’t want to play in front of his home crowd,” said Botham, who ended his playing career with Durham.

“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, that he will not be playing after all.”

The game is the first international to be held at Chester-le-Street since Durham were punished by the England and Wales Cricket Board over financial issues.

As well as being relegated to Division Two of the County Championship, the county were stripped of the right to host Test matches.

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