The England Test Team is likely to field “new and exciting talent” against New Zealand, says Ashley Giles

The England Test Team could see new faces for the two game series with the availability and fitness of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Dominic Sibley in doubt.
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Selectors look to test squad depth

A series between New Zealand and England promises to provide great value to viewers around the globe. The 2019 Cricket World Cup Final remains a painful memory for the Kiwis. Meanwhile, the England Test Team will want to exert their own revenge, having not beaten New Zealand in a series since 2013, in the longest format of the game.

We recommend that you stream the two game series online, using any of these platforms to watch.

The fixtures

June 2-6, 1st Test, Lords Cricket Ground

June 10-14, 2nd Test, Edgbaston Cricket Ground

The possible absentees

Ben Stokes

Stokes injured his finger during his first game in the Indian Premier League, while going to take a catch. His time frame for recovery was given as 10-12 weeks and this means that he is unlikely to be fit in time for the first Test and could potentially miss the series.

It will be difficult to replace his services, as he is arguably England’s most important player. No one in the team provides balance quite like Stokes does. He is perhaps on his way to becoming England’s best ever all-rounder.

Jofra Archer

Archer may well play some part in the series if the selectors decide he is fit enough. However, there is no need to risk him with a big Test series against India coming up in August, followed by the continuation of the Indian Premier League, the World T20 and then the Ashes Series. England have a plethora of options that can do a great job in English conditions, some of whom will be discussed in the next section.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 05: Jofra Archer of England celebrates with Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes after taking the wicket of Abid Ali of Pakistan during Day One of the 1st #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford on August 05, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Dominic Sibley

Having played a great part in England’s Test win in Chennai, Sibley will be looking to build on that during the English summer. He did struggle in Sri Lanka and the rest of the tests in India but he has shown more than enough playing at home to be persisted with long term. He fractured a finger in April, while at Warwickshire duty and has not featured in a game since. Zak Crawley and Rory Burns are both shoe-ins to open in case Sibley is rested or still recovering.

“New faces” in the England Test Team 

Craig Overton

Overton has been performing ridiculously well with both the bat and the ball for the past few years. In fact, he has been Somerset’s star man when pitches have not suited the spin bowlers exceedingly. He has been steady in his first four Tests for England and could challenge for the second all-rounders slot with Ben Stokes missing. One of Chris Woakes or Sam Curran is likely to make up the first slot.

Ollie Robinson

Similar to Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson has long been on the England selectors radar. With Jofra Archer away on England duty, he has been Sussex’s main man for a couple of years on the county circuit. Jason Gillespie, the former Yorkshire coach believes that he is “At the peak of his powers” and “Could be a great Ashes addition for England.”

The numbers certainly back it up as he has taken 265 wickets in County Cricket so far, at a bowling average of just 21. Such numbers are hard to ignore for too long.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 06: James Bracey of Gloucestershire catches the ball during Day One of the LV= Insurance County Championship match between Middlesex and Gloucestershire at Lord’s Cricket Ground on May 06, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

James Bracey

Bracey has been in and around England’s Test team for a while now. He played in the practice games last summer, before the series against the West Indies. He is perhaps better known for his List A average of 61 and strike rate of 109, but he does also average a healthy 37 in County Cricket, as a wicket-keeper batsman. The last few seasons in particular, have been fruitful.

Analysing New Zealand

Neil Wagner received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine just three weeks ago and the rest of the New Zealand Cricket Team will likely get theirs soon. Some of the players who were at the Indian Premier League during April, could not get the Astra Zenica jab.

The board previously stated that the entire squad would be vaccinated prior to their tour of England. If everything is to go fine and it looks as if it will with the County Championship in full flow, we should be set for an exciting Test series between two evenly matched sides.

New Zealand are likely to have a fully fit squad, with no notable absentees as of yet. They have almost the perfect side suited to playing in English conditions. The likes of Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor form a strong batting side, while Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson will be a handful if the ball moves. The all-rounders Santner and De Grandhomme add great depth to the side. Whatever the outcome, there is no doubt they will give the England Test Team a great series.


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