Former English skipper Nasser Hussain was disappointed with England selectors for resting Jonny Bairstow for the first two Tests against India and said that the fans would want to see two best sides competing with each other.
England, who are currently playing the two-match Test series in Sri Lanka, will be arriving on a long tour of India starting from the first week of February. They are slated to play 4 Tests, 3 ODIs, and 5 T20I matches against the hosts.
However, England cricket Board on Friday announced a 16-member squad for the first two Tests, the first of which will be played on 5th February at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, and rested three key players including Jonny Bairstow from the squad for two tests.
Jonny Bairstow was one of the key players for England in the first Test against Sri Lanka as he carried out the rescue attack for England at the Galle, many pundits including former English skipper, Nasser Hussain, have questioned the decision of the English selectors to rest the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman for the first two Tests against India.
Referring to Bairstow’s exclusion from the squad Nasser Hussain said it was a concern that one of England's best three players of spin, Jonny Bairstow, has been given a boarding pass home and the others are going to Chennai.
"I would say it's a concern that one of England's best three players of spin - I would say Bairstow is alongside Joe Root and Ben Stokes in that - has been given a boarding pass home and the others are going to Chennai. I'd have to rethink," Nasser Hussain, who was born in Chennai, wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
Nasser Hussain admitted that it must be a difficult job for the selectors to manage the workload of the players and said that the fans would want to see the two best sides competing with each other
"It must be an absolute nightmare what the players have been through [during these Covid times] - they had the whole of last summer and then had the IPL. Then it was South Africa, now Sri Lanka, then India, and then IPL again.
I get that and I am not downplaying it at all - it must be a nightmare for the selectors - but should you have your best side for that first India Test?” he said.
"England fans switching on when it is turning and England are 20-2 may well have the argument, 'I want to see our best batsman against spin, or one of them, in Bairstow," he added.
Nasser Hussain, 52, further slammed the selectors for the new rotation policy saying it requires better balancing between planning for the future and winning Test matches.
"If the next Test after this series was Brisbane in the Ashes, would we send our best side? So why when it's the first Test against India, one of the great sides, aren't we sending our best team? It is that balancing act of being fair to the public and winning what's in front of you and long-term planning all year," said Naseer Hussain.
The first two Tests between India and England are set to play in Chennai before the series moves to Ahmedabad for the final two Tests. The third Test of the series will be a day-night encounter, starting on 24 February.
(Sky sports inputs)