Matthew Potts to debut as England begin new era
Durham pace bowler Matthew Potts will make his international debut in the first of three Tests between England and New Zealand starting at Lord’s on Thursday in what will also be his inaugural first-class match at the iconic venue.
Potts, who has been the outstanding bowler in the County Championship this year with 35 wickets at 18.57 each, will join veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad who have been recalled after they were omitted from the team which lost 1-0 in the West Indies earlier this year.
Ben Stokes, who has taken over the England captaincy from Joe Root after a dismal winter for England in Australia and the Caribbean, completes the pace quartet.
However, at least six other leading pace bowlers, including Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, are unavailable through injury. Stokes told a pre-match news conference that his Durham teammate Potts had been outstanding in the County games they had played together this year.
“This kid is ready, he’s been phenomenal,” Stokes said. “He’s everything I expect this team to be going forward.”
He also paid tribute to the team’s new coach, former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has been tasked with turning around a team which sit at the bottom of the current Test Championship standings after winning one of their last 17 Tests.
“He is all about making everyone feel, in his words ‘10 feet tall’,” the 30-year-old Stokes said. “It’s a good few days working for him.”
New Zealand won the inaugural Test Championship final against India in Southampton last year.
Captain Kane Williamson, who missed his team’s home series this year against Bangladesh and South Africa because of a long-standing elbow injury, said batter Henry Nicholls who has sustained a calf injury and also tested positive for Covid-19 would be replaced by Daryl Mitchell at No.5.
He said left-arm opening bowler Trent Boult, who did not arrive in England until last Monday because of his commitments in the IPL would be assessed at training and the New Zealanders would examine the ground surface before deciding on their team.
Match starts: 3.30pm (IST), live on Sony Ten 1