England will lock horns with Sri Lanka in three T20Is, followed by three ODIs on home soil, starting on June 23rd. The 16-member England squad for the T20I series marks the return of Chris Woakes and David Willey, alongside Tom Curran, Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler. While Eoin Morgan will be leading the side as expected, the hosts will miss the services of Jofra Archer, Reece Topley and Ben Stokes.
England, who are currently the no.1-ranked T20I team, will be hoping to win the T20 World Cup in India later this year, having won the ODI World Cup on home soil in 2019. Skipper Eoin Morgan and team management will look at the Sri Lanka series as an opportunity to finalize a few spots that are still up for grabs for the T20 World Cup squad.
On that note, let's look at the five key England players to watch out for in the T20I series against Sri Lanka.
#1 Chris Woakes
Chris Woakes has been an integral part of England's ODI squad, but he hasn't played a T20I since 2015. The 32-year-old has also lost his place in England's Test team, and the Sri Lanka series marks his return to the national side for the first time since September 2020. Woakes, who fared well for Warwickshire in the ongoing T20 Blast, also looked in good touch while representing the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 earlier this year.
#2 Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali was having a great IPL 2021 campaign for Chennai Super Kings before the tournament was suspended due to rising COVID-19 cases inside the teams' bio-bubbles. He performed exceedingly well with both the bat and ball under the leadership of MS Dhoni, who effectively utilized the all-rounder. Ali has been in and out of England's white-ball squads as the team have a rich bank of all-rounders. Also, the English conditions don't always allow playing two spinners. However, Eoin Morgan will bank on Ali's rich form and the latter could play every game against Sri Lanka in the absence of Ben Stokes.
#3 Liam Livingstone
Following his impressive power hitting as an opener in the Big Bash League while playing for the Perth Scorchers, Liam Livingstone was part of England's T20I squad for the tour of India earlier this year. Although he failed to get a game in the shortest format, Livingstone made his ODI debut later in the tour. He hasn't played a T20I since 2017 and will look to cement his place in England's T20 World Cup squad by putting in a few powerful displays against Sri Lanka.
#4 Dawid Malan
The no.1-ranked batsman in T20Is has had an incredible start to his career with 10 half-centuries in 24 games so far. But his performance against India in the five-match T20I series was quite average and he didn't perform well in the ongoing T20 Blast either. However, Malan's consistency in England's colors over the last year-and-a-half has made it tough to ignore him and Eoin Morgan and co. will be expecting Malan to hit the ground running against the Lankans.
#5 Jason Roy
The prolific opener from Surrey was in great form in the Big Bash League, where he formed a formidable partnership with Liam Livingstone for the Perth Scorchers. Jason Roy faced a lot of trouble early in the innings with the swinging ball while facing Bhuvneshwar Kumar on the India tour. But he will be eyeing the series against Sri Lanka as a chance to cement his spot at the top of the order for England in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
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The three T20I series will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Cricket. Viewers in India can watch it on Sony Sports channels and on the Sony Live app.