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Cricket: Five players that are key to England hopes in South Africa

England's cricketers have enjoyed a month off since their historic Test series win in Pakistan but now have their sights set on one-day success in South Africa.

Jos Buttler's men will face the Proteas in a three-match ODI series, with the opening clash in Bloemfontein on Friday 27th January.

The current one-day world champions have named a strong squad for the tour of South Africa and we've looked at five players who could be crucial to England's hopes of another series victory.

WhatSouth Africa v England – First ODI
WhereMangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
WhenFriday, 27th January
How to watchSky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Cricket

Jofra Archer

Having struggled with long-term back and elbow problems, it's over two years since Jofra Archer last played an ODI but the paceman is back!

The ECB have been very cautious over rushing the 27-year-old, but with the Ashes on the horizon, his return to action is a timely boost for the selectors.

Archer, who has 30 wickets in 17 ODI appearances, is currently playing T20 cricket in South Africa and has already been bowling at speeds of over 90mph.

The right-arm fast bowler will have 17 months of built-up frustration stored up during his time on the sidelines and will be determined to prove he is worth selection in all formats, particularly for the summer Ashes series – which England are 13/10 To Win Outright against Australia.

Harry Brook

With no Joe Root in the travelling party, this could be the opportunity for Harry Brook to cement his place in England's one-day plans.

The Yorkshire ace has already made an impact at Test and T20 level and now has the chance to play a key role for his country in the 50-over format.

Brook is yet to play on ODI and hasn't had much one-day action for Yorkshire over the last year, but his recent performances in Pakistan have given him the chance to impress.

If the 23-year-old can repeat his red ball success in the 50-over series, he will be in prime position to be part of England's squad for the World Cup later this year – with Buttler's men 3/1 To Win Outright and defend their title.

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Jason Roy

Despite being close to 4000 ODI runs, the pressure is on Jason Roy going into this series having struggled for runs in recent times.

The South African-born opener has just one century in his last 27 ODIs and that came against the Netherlands last summer.

Since that ton, Roy has scored just 160 runs in his last eight one-day internationals and his ODI batting average has slipped to 39.53.

The 32-year-old was a key player in England's World Cup success in 2019, but he will need to deliver in this series if he is to keep alive his hopes of playing in this year's tournament, with the likes of Phil Salt and Ben Duckett waiting in the wings.

Adil Rashid

There's no doubt Adil Rashid was one of the stars of England's World T20 success and he can now play a key role in the 50-over format.

The Yorkshireman has 169 ODI wickets to his name and he is one of just two specialist spinners, along with Moeen Ali, for the South Africa series.

Rashid has enjoyed some recent success against the Proteas, taking 3-29 when the teams met at Old Trafford in July whilst also taking 3-51 when England won the third ODI in Johannesburg back in February 2020.

The white-ball wizard can also add valuable runs down the order, with the 34-year-old having an ODI batting average of 17.84 and a top score of 69.

Olly Stone

Another player looking to earn a place in the World Cup squad is Olly Stone, who has been bowling in South African conditions in recent weeks.

The Warwickshire bowler, like Archer, has been playing in the SA20 competition for the Mumbai Indians Cape Town, claiming the scalp of his international captain Buttler in a recent meeting.

Stone featured in two matches in November against Australia, a series in which England were way off their best having just secured the World T20 title.

The 29-year-old claimed figures of 4-85 in his 10 overs in the third match of that series and his recent experience in South Africa could see him get the nod.

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