Joe Root to skip England's T20Is against Australia and New Zealand, Ben Stokes to miss series for court appearance

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Joe Root has starred in England's ODI series victory over Australia.

Joe Root on Tuesday pulled out of England’s Twenty20 tri-series against Australia and New Zealand, as Ben Stokes confirmed his return to international cricket would be delayed by a court appearance.

Test captain Root, who has played in all five Ashes matches and the first three ODIs against Australia this month, will return to England before playing in the one-day international series against New Zealand in late February.

Root said he did not like missing games but made a decision to “have a little break”. His replacement has not yet been named.

“I came into this tour wanting to play everything. I love playing for England and I don’t like missing games of cricket,” the 27-year-old Yorkshire batsman said in a statement.

“I had a long chat with (coach) Trevor Bayliss about things and there’s obviously a big summer ahead and a lot of cricket still to be played.

“It’s going to be really important to make sure that I’m available for all of that.”

Stokes is due in court to face charges of affray on February 13, the same day England play New Zealand in the T20 series.

The 26-year-old missed England’s Ashes series defeat in Australia after he was suspended from international duty by the England and Wales cricket Board following his involvement in an incident outside a nightclub in September.

He was last week included in the squad to play the triangular T20 tournament.

The news came ahead of this year’s Indian Premier League auction set for January 27-28 in Bangalore, with both Root and Stokes lining up as among the top-ranking players the eight teams can bid for.

Australian captain Steve Smith has been rested for the T20 games ahead of the crucial Test tour to South Africa, with David Warner stepping up to lead the team.

The T20 tri-series takes place in Australia and New Zealand from February 3-21.

England’s five-match ODI series against New Zealand runs from February 25 to March 10.​

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Steve Smith rubbishes ball-tampering allegations in Australia-England ODI

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Australian captain Steve Smith has shot down suggestions of ball-tampering after video of him using saliva from the corner of his mouth during Sunday’s one-day loss to England raised eyebrows.

Smith laughed off the reaction, after watching a replay of the video, saying it was his standard technique for helping shine the white ball with no assistance from any foreign substance.

“It was all spit. People said something about lip balm. If you look at my lips they are pretty dry. I certainly didn’t have any of that on,” he told reporters Sunday.

“It is just the way I get the spit into the side of my mouth and get some spit onto the ball. There was nothing in it.”

England last month blasted ball-tampering allegations against them as a “beat-up” after footage of England bowler James Anderson working the ball with his thumbnail drew suspicions during their Ashes test match in Melbourne.

England coach Trevor Bayliss slammed the accusations after former Australian test players Shane Warne and Michael Slater suggested it was not allowed.

“It’s a beat-up. As soon as I saw the headlines I raced into the umpires and that was their words: ‘Nothing to worry about, it was a beat-up, absolutely fine’,” Bayliss said at the time.

England sealed the five-match ODI series in Sydney Sunday when a stunning century from Jos Buttler helped the visitors to a unbeatable 3-0 lead — a remarkable turnaround after Australia had trounced them 4-0 in the Ashes Tests.

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Spotlight on Ben Stokes as IPL Player Auction list is released

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Ben Stokes is expected to attract a fierce bidding war.

The spotlight will be well and truly on England all-rounder Ben Stokes when the IPL player auction gets underway on January 27 after the final list of 578 players was released on Saturday.

Stokes is among the 16 marquee players picked for the upcoming auction in Bengaluru which will run across two days. India off-spinner Ravi Ashwin, Australian pacer Mitchell Starc, England Test captain Joe Root and Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell are among the top players who will go under the hammer.

Initially, more than 1,000 players had registered for the auctions but the Indian board cut the list to 578. The players have been distributed across eight categories.

“A lot of strategising and number-crunching is involved before a cricketer is picked at the IPL Player Auction. The dynamic nature of the auction makes it unpredictable and exciting,” IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said in a release.

“The eight franchises have given us an indication of what their core would be with their player retentions and IPL 2018 player auction will be an important step towards the creation of a successful team. The marquee list is full of star players, but I am also looking forward to the uncapped Indian players who have proved their mettle in the earlier editions of the IPL and are sure to attract high bids.”

According to reports, franchises will get to replace Stokes – who was charged with ‘affray’ over his brawl in Bristol last year – only if the all-rounder is not available for the entire tournament due to legal proceedings.

However, Stokes’ legal team is reported to have informed the England board that Stokes’ case is unlikely to impact his availability for the IPL.

Meanwhile, among the 16 marquee players in the ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ categories are India players Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and veterans Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir. Interestingly, Chris Gayle finds himself in the M1 category even though his batting has lost a lot of its sheen.

Former India captain MS Dhoni has stated that his team Chennai Super Kings will go for Ashwin when his name comes up during the auction.

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