The English summer of international cricket is now only a few hours away. Lord’s, the venue for the opener has every eyeball grabbed like never before. England’s test team have formed a new unit and it’ll mark the start of a new era of test match cricket in the England. On the other hand, New Zealand too have a few key questions to answers. Match of evens.
England’s and New Zealand’s strength lies in their bowling, the exceptional pace bowlers who shine day in and out. With bat in hand, England have vulnerabilities right at top for Kiwi quicks to exploit and have the English middle order in early. For England to break open, there’s a loop in New Zealand’s middle order that’s not like ever before. England will look to record their 2nd test win playing in their 18th test match or see it as first win in their first test under a new regime.
ENGLAND’S XI FOR LORD’S TEST :
Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Ben Foakes (WK), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jack Leach, Matthew Potts (Debut).
England rightly continue to invest in their raw opening pair of Zak Crawley and Alex Lees, but it’s a big couple test match for these two potential players to leave an impression, the trust shown by selectors needs to be paid back. England have taken a huge gamble with Ollie Pope to bat at 3, he has never in his career batted at 3 or above, he’s had a string of low scores down in the middle order, but finds himself in a much difficult position at 3 to save his test career. English top 3 will be all nervous men who have to leave a strong mark for themselves and also assure Joe Root doesn’t walk out at 20-2 or 30-2. Middle order now for England is a lot compact and must look to make it a defining asset, with Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes at 4, 5 and 6 respectively, they are names as big as many and are right fits to switch gears.
Ben Foakes holds his position at 7 and will keep wickets. England would have had a good debate on whether it’s the right time to hand in-form Harry Brook a test debut, but stick to their current best XI and don’t rest anyone to play Brook. 3 pacers and a spinner is what England have opted, Jack Leach the only specialist spinner is in the XI. With England’s long list of pacers injury, Matthew Potts finds himself in the frame and is in such a good form that the selection panel have overlooked Craig Overton in handing him a debut game at the Lord’s cricket ground and an opportunity to be bowling alongside great pace veterans in James Anderson and Stuart Broad who now are back in the side.
NEW ZEALAND’S TEST SQUAD :
Kane Williamson (C), Tom Blundell (WK), Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher (WK), Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Will Young, *Michael Bracewell (* first test only).
Experienced, Tom Latham will likely be opening alongside, Will Young as New Zealand suffer a double blow in the middle order with Ross Taylor’s retirement and Henry Nicholls injury forcing Devon Conway to bat in the middle at no. 4 unless, Kane Williamson decides to bat at 4 and find his lost form. Michael Bracewell or one between two all-rounders in Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme will be running on New Zealand’s mind for the no. 5 and 6 position.
Tom Blundell at no. 7 is likely to hold his ground unless, New Zealand decide to play a long tale with playing all 3 (Michael Bracewell, Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme) which is actually a better option given the experience and ability to switch gears they both, Mitchell and de Grandhomme are known for. A spinner and 3 pacer formula will see Ajaz Patel as the specialist spinner with 3 pacers in Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee and Matt Henry as Trent Boult just come in fresh from the IPL playing the final few days back might be rested, if not walks in for Matt Henry. An option more, to get a bit of variety, Niel Wagner could he named in for Kyle Jamieson who’s struggling a bit with hitting good areas. The pace bowling selection is a real good headache with some many big names in the mix.
WEATHER FOR THE TEST DURATION :
English summer is just a term that doesn’t quite mean what it reads. Partly cloudy conditions on the opening couple days (2nd and 3rd) with showers predicted on the remaining 3 days (4th, 5th and 6th). Hopefully the weather clears and we witness a full show at Lord’s to kickstart the summer of international cricket in England.
2nd of June, Lords test will be called Shane Warne test match and before the start of the 23rd over on day 1, there’ll be a 23 second applauding for the great man. A cracker of a test match coming your way, get your schedules permitting you witness the start of a new era.