Ben Stokes pulls out of the Hundred and T20 series to focus on Test cricket

Ben Stokes has pulled out of the Hundred as well as the forthcoming T20 series against South Africa as he prioritises Test cricket over white-ball competitions following his appointment as England captain.

Stokes made two appearances for Northern Superchargers last summer and was expected to play for them again in the competition’s second season, but will instead rest and prepare for the three Tests against South Africa in August and September.

The squads for the T20 and ODI series against South Africa were released on Friday, with Jonny Bairstow in both groups and Joe Root, like Stokes, scheduled to appear only in the 50-over games – even though the last of the three T20s will be played on 31 July, more than two weeks before the start of the first Test.

Adil Rashid returns to both groups after completing the Hajj pilgrimage, which forced him to miss the six white-ball games against India, while Matthew Potts has been rewarded for his form in the Test team with a place in the ODI squad. Of those selected for the equivalent series against India Matt Parkinson and Tymal Mills have been left out of the T20 squad, while Bairstow’s inclusion forces Harry Brook out of the ODI group.

Brook’s Yorkshire side will go into Saturday’s T20 Blast Finals Day without their captain, David Willey, after England declined to release any of the players involved in Thursday’s ODI against India for the showpiece event at Edgbaston. Three players who were not in the XI will be allowed to play, with Parkinson and Phil Salt joining up with Lancashire and Brook with Yorkshire in time for those teams’ semi-final.

Lancashire’s Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone, Somerset’s Craig Overton and Willey, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root of Yorkshire could all have been involved at Edgbaston, though some have barely been involved in their teams’ route to the final four – each side has so far played 15 games and of those players only Livingstone (seven), Willey (seven) and Overton (six) have made more than two appearances. All remain with the international squad ahead of the final and decisive ODI at Old Trafford on Sunday, where England are expected to name an unchanged team.

The original summer schedule would have seen the white-ball series conclude at Lord’s on Thursday, allowing all players to join their counties for the weekend, but it was reorganised to squeeze in a rearranged fifth Test against India, held over from last summer.