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Cricket-England pick Brook instead of Roy for World Cup title defence

(Reuters) - England named batter Harry Brook at the expense of Jason Roy on Sunday in the squad for their 50-over World Cup title defence.

Brook, who was left out of England's provisional World Cup squad, made the cut despite a string of failures in the recent series against New Zealand.

But he was impressive in the Indian Premier League and the Hundred so skipper Jos Buttler has kept faith with the 24-year-old, saying last month the door was not closed for Brook.

Dawid Malan, who plundered 277 runs in three ODIs against New Zealand to be named player of the series, also made the squad and is a firm favourite to open the batting for England.

With Roy sidelined due to a back injury, Malan opened the batting against New Zealand and the 36-year-old became the joint-fastest Englishman to get to 1,000 ODI runs, reaching the mark in 21 innings to match Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.

"We have selected a squad we are confident can go to India and win the World Cup," England men's national selector Luke Wright said in a statement.

"We are blessed with an incredibly strong group of white-ball players which was underlined by the performances in the series win against a very good New Zealand team.

"The strength of the group has meant that we have had to make some tough decisions on world-class players, with Jason Roy missing out and Harry Brook coming into the squad."

Roy, who was an integral part of the England side which won the 2019 World Cup, gave up his incremental contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in May to play more franchise cricket.

England all-rounder and test captain Ben Stokes also returns having reversed his decision to retire from ODIs.

Stokes, who starred in England's victorious 2019 campaign on home soil, warmed up for the World Cup by smashing 235 runs in three innings against New Zealand.

It included a knock of 182 off 124 deliveries -- England's highest individual ODI score ever -- in the third match earlier this week.

Bowlers Adil Rashid and Mark Wood were injury doubts but both were named in the squad.

England begin their World Cup defence with the first match of the tournament when they take on New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Oct. 5 in a rematch of the 2019 final.

England squad:

Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)