The selection panel have announced a 13-strong squad for the first two test matches of the summer against New Zealand. Among the thirteen are Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham seamer Matthew Potts who have been rewarded for their respective strong starts to the County Championship.
As England herald in a new era with Ben Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as the new Head Coach of the men’s Test side, the selectors resisted the temptation to make sweeping changes, but have still managed to bring some new blood into the fold.
In Harry Brook, England have called up the standout batter in the top division of the LV= Insurance County Championship. The 23-year-old already has 758 runs to his name for Yorkshire at an average of 151.6. Having made his debut in the T20 series in the Caribbean, Brook can be expected to fit straight in.
Similarly, the selectors have called up the season’s leading bowler, 23-year-old Matthew Potts, who plies his trade at Durham. Potts has taken 35 wickets including four five-wicket heists. The most impressive of these was his demolition of Glamorgan, returning seven for just forty runs.
Naming two young players in such devastating form, England must now be brave enough to play them. Rob Key, was certainly excited by the squad announcement.
“This is the start of a new era for our Test team under the stewardship of Ben (Stokes) and Brendon (McCullum). With a blend of youth and experience, we have selected an exciting squad that can compete with New Zealand in next month’s Test series.”
The experience, Key is referring to is the duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad who are returning to the squad for the first time since the Ashes. This is England selection at it’s most mundane. Both Anderson and Broad have been excellent servants to the England team and have plenty to offer in and around the squad. However, naming both in the thirteen prevents the selectors from bringing in the likes of Hampshire’s Keith Barker who has been impressive for Hampshire in Division 1 this season.
“We have rewarded players in Harry Brook and Matty Potts who have had outstanding starts to the County season, and they deserve the opportunity to stake a claim at this level.
On the series itself, Key believes that this will be a series to salivate over.
“It promises to be a mouthwatering series, and I can’t wait for the team to start against a very good New Zealand side. It is a fascinating prospect for everyone connected with the sport in this country.”
The three-match Test series forms part of the ICC World Test Championship. The England team will be looking to climb the rankings after a disappointing start to the second edition of the Championship. At the end of the two-year cycle, the top two teams will compete in the ICC World Test Championship Final due to be staged in the summer of 2023. Currently, the top two teams are Sri Lanka and Pakistan. India sit in third, a place above England in fourth. New Zealand occupy sixth place currently while the Australians and South Africans are yet to play a match in the competition.