Ben Stokes, the new England Test captain said that it was his team’s time now as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced the squad for the first Test against New Zealand to be played at Lord’s from June 2 onwards. He also wanted the team to feel free under his captaincy
Stokes has taken over as skipper from Joe Root, with England on a woeful run of one win in 17 Tests. He was named as captain by new team managing director Rob Key who was part of a committee that also included former captain Andrew Strauss.
The England team for the New Zealand Test saw the return of their two highest wicket-taking bowlers in James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were dropped from the West Indies Tests earlier this year in the aftermath of England’s poor outing in Ashes 2021-22 which they lost 1-4 under Joe Root.
This Is Our Time: Ben Stokes Ahead Of First Test Against Lord’s
Anderson, 39, and Broad, 35, England’s two most successful bowlers of all time, with a combined 1,177 wickets between them, and they return for the first match under England’s new leadership duo of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
“There’s been a lot of talk about a ‘reset’, which is a word I don’t like. “I just see it as a completely blank canvas. I just want everyone to feel free under my captaincy. This is our time and we are going to dictate how things go forward. Everyone is starting fresh,” Stokes told reporters ahead of Lord’s Test.
England have also given a debut to fast bowler Matthew Potts, a county colleague of Stokes at Durham. Potts has taken 35 wickets for Durham in his opening six County Championship matches.
“He’s been outstanding in the games I’ve played. It’s not been all plain sailing for bowlers and he’s created things out of nowhere. The thing that made my mind up about Pottsy was when he bowled us to victory against Glamorgan.
He turned up with a bit of a stiff side, with Test selection coming he could have just sat back and said ‘I’m going to look after myself’ but he didn’t. He ran in and won the game for us. That’s the attitude that opens your eyes. This kid is an athlete and everything I expect this team to be about going forward,” said Stokes of Potts.
England also indicated that Jonny Bairstow would bat at number five, with Ollie Pope penciled in at first-wicket down.
England team to play New Zealand in the first Test at Lord’s:
Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wkt), Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson