SYDNEY: Joe Root on Tuesday pulled out of England's T20I 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 ODI 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 T20I 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 T20I tournament.
"As has been confirmed in the media a first hearing date at court has been set for 13th February," Stokes tweeted Tuesday. "In the circumstances, I have decided that it would not be right to join my teammates until after attending court on the 13th."
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 T20I games ahead of the crucial Test tour to South Africa, with David Warner stepping up to lead the team.
The T20I 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. AFP
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