Cricket: England name two debutants in squad for New Zealand Test series

James Bracey has earned his first call-up to the England Test squad (Picture: Getty)

England have named a 15-man squad for their upcoming Test series against New Zealand, with James Bracey and Ollie Robinson called up for the first time and Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes rested.

Joe Root’s side face New Zealand – the No. 1 Test team in the world – in a two-match series starting at Lord’s on June 2.

Gloucestershire wicketkeeper-batsman Bracey and Sussex seamer Robinson are in contention to earn Test debuts, having impressed in the County Championship this season.

Bracey, 24, has scored 478 runs at an average of 53, while Robinson, 22, has taken 29 wickets at an average of 14.

Both are familiar with the England set-up, having toured Sri Lanka and India last winter as reserve players. They were also part of the extended squads during last summer’s series against West Indies and Pakistan.

Joining Bracey and Robinson in England’s Test squad is Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton, recalled for the first time September 2019.

Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone and Mark Wood make up the rest of England’s squad.

Ollie Robinson could also make his Test debut in the series against New Zealand

Ollie Robinson could also make his Test debut in the series against New Zealand (Picture: Getty)

Head coach Chris Silverwood said: ‘The summer of Test cricket will be fascinating. Playing the top two teams in the world, in New Zealand and India, is perfect preparation for us as we continue to improve and progress towards an Ashes series in Australia at the back end of the year.

‘With several players not available through injury or being rested for the New Zealand series, it is an opportunity for us to reward those who have been on the fringes of England squads over the past 12 months.

‘James Bracey and Ollie Robinson deserve their call ups to the Test squad. They have been consistent performers in the County Championship this season and over the past 18 months, have excelled for the Lions on the field and in the various camps they have been involved in.

‘Having spent all winter and last summer in the company of our established Test players, they have immersed themselves in preparing and understanding what it takes to play at this level.

England’s Test squad to face New Zealand

Joe Root (Yorkshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Zak Crawley (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Craig Overton (Somerset), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)

‘The environment and culture will be something they are used to, and should they be in a position to make their Test debuts, they will be ready to showcase their skills.

‘They are both resilient characters and have demonstrated to me, the captain and coaches that they have the desire, temperament and the ability to continually improve to give themselves every chance of succeeding on the international stage.’

Buttler, Woakes, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran have all been rested after completing quarantine periods following the cancellation of the Indian Premier League earlier this month.

Durham’s Ben Stokes and Sussex’s Jofra Archer were ruled out of the New Zealand series due to finger and elbow injuries.

Silverwood added: ‘Jofra Archer is to see a consultant this week to understand the severity of his right elbow injury. He struggled in Sussex’s Championship fixture last week and he wasn’t able to bowl on the final two days of the match.

England head coach Chris Silverwood (Picture: Getty)

‘We need to get this resolved once and for all to give him the best chance of being fully fit as we build up to an intense winter, which will include a T20 World Cup and the Ashes. We need him firing in all formats of the game.

‘Ben Stokes is making excellent progress following his fractured left index finger sustained last month in the Indian Premier League.

‘If he continues to improve without any impact on his rehabilitation, we could see him return next month for Durham in the T20 Blast. We will assess him again towards the end of this month.

‘As for the players who have just come out of quarantine after the cancelled IPL, we felt it necessary for them to have an extended break.

‘We need them to recharge mentally. We will then take a view when they return to cricket. It will mean that they will get some competitive matches with their respective counties either in the County Championship or the Vitality Blast next month.

‘We will work closely with each individual on when they are likely to play again. This is the start of our international summer and an exceptionally long winter, so we are mindful that we need the players ready both physically and mentally.

‘Understanding players needs are paramount in our planning and something that will continually develop across the year leading into the World Cup and Ashes campaigns.’

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