The ECB have named a 15-man squad for the two-Test series versus New Zealand and have handed deserved call-ups to the duo of Ollie Robinson and James Bracey, who have been tearing the domestic circuit apart for seasons. All the IPL stars have been rested, while off-spinner Dom Bess has been axed.
Fresh faces will be in abundance in England’s two-Test series against New Zealand as the ECB have named the uncapped duo of Sussex’s Ollie Robinson and Gloucestershire’s James Bracey in the 15-man squad for the series that will commence on June 2nd. Both Robinson, a tall seamer, and Bracey, a wicket-keeper batter, have been making huge strides in the domestic circuit over the past few years, and the call-up serves as a reward for the young duo, both of whom have spent plenty of time with the first XI as ‘reserves’ over the past year.
"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,” head coach Chris Silverwood said in a statement.
"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. 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."
The 15-man squad also sees the return of Craig Overton, who is currently the highest wicket-taking pacer in the ongoing County Championship, while Ben Foakes is expected to don the gloves at home for the first time. Dan Lawrence, Olly Stone and Jack Leach have all retained their places in the squad, but there is no such luck for off-spinner Dom Bess, who has been axed. Bess, who moved to Yorkshire prior to the season in the hope of getting more game time, has seen himself play in conditions conducive to seam bowling, and thus returns of 9 wickets @ 42.66 has seen the selectors ignore the 23-year-old for the New Zealand Tests.
All multi-format stars who played in the IPL, meanwhile, have been rested. Among them, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are nursing injuries, and Silverwood said that while Stokes is making good progress, Archer will be seeing a consultant later this week.
"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 Vitality Blast competition. We will assess him again towards the end of this month.
"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. 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,” Silverwood said.
Squad for New Zealand Tests:Joe Root (c), James Anderson, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood