England head into their upcoming series against New Zealand aiming to turn around their miserable form in Test match cricket.
A run of one win in 17 matches has sent England down to sixth in the world rankings and sparked an overhaul of the team’s management structure.
By contrast, New Zealand have climbed to third in the standings and will be confident of adding to England’s woes. Read on as we preview the series and predict who will come out on top.
England embark on new era under McCullum
New head coach Brendon McCullum has been tasked with reviving England’s fortunes at Test level, but he has surprisingly not shaken things up too much.
Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook and Durham fast bowler Matty Potts are the only debutants in a 13-man squad that reeks of conservatism.
The omission of Liam Livingstone is a major surprise given the form he has been showing in the shorter versions of the game.
Former England star Kevin Pietersen had given his backing to Livingstone in his recent column on IPL betting site Betway, but his comments have been ignored.
Brook and Pope undoubtedly deserve their call-ups after starring in the County Championship this season, but it is hugely disappointing that they are the only new faces.
Josh Bohannon, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson and Henry Brookes are amongst the players who can feel disappointed about being overlooked.
New Zealand ready to continue upsurge
New Zealand head to England in good spirts having jumped to third in the rankings and claimed the first-ever World Test Championship title in 2021.
They named a strong 20-player squad for the three-match series including captain Kane Williamson, who returns to the fold after recovering from an elbow injury.
The inclusion of the third-ranked player in the Test batting rankings boosts New Zealand’s hopes of taking advantage of England’s fast bowling absentees.
Recently retired BJ Watling and Ross Taylor are the only two players missing from the squad that defeated England last summer.
All-rounder Michael Bracewell has been included in his first tour, while Jacob Duffy, Cam Fletcher and Blair Tickner will also hope to be included in the final 15-man squad.
While Williamson claims he expects a tough challenge against England, the visitors have a golden opportunity to get another series win on the board.
England squad: Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Craig Overton, Matthew Potts, Ollie Pope, Joe Root.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Cameron Fletcher, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young.
England vs New Zealand Test schedule:
- Lord’s – June 2-6
- Trent Bridge – June 10-14
- Headingley – June 23-27
Prediction: Given their recent form at Test level, it is surprising that England haven’t called up more new players.
New Zealand triumphed in the last series between these two sides and look a good bet to repeat the trick this time around.