England Test captain Ben Stokes confirmed the return of veteran pacer Stuart Broad for the first Test against New Zealand, which will be a day-night affair with the pink ball, and begins at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui from Thursday, February 16 onwards.
England’s second highest Test wicket-taker behind James Anderson, Broad had missed the England tour of Pakistan for the birth of his first child, beat stiff competition for the final spot in the XI from Olly Stone and Matthew Potts.
“The way in which we’ve gone about our selections and stuff like that, especially in England and here, [which are] similar conditions, the team we pick, especially with the ball, has the bases all covered,” Stokes was quoted as saying by Talksport.
The north island of New Zealand has been battered by Cyclone Gabrielle over the past few days, but Mount Maunganui has survived the worst of it. However, there is still the prospect of some rain in the days ahead, in which case attention is turning to what Stokes will have up his sleeve in terms of forcing a result.
“I don’t know if the weather is going to play any part in this game going forward. but I’m sure we’ll still come up with a way to hopefully force a result regardless of how much time is taken away,” Stokes added.
Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley will continue to open the batting, with Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Stokes and Ben Foakes making up the rest of the batting. Jack Leach will be the sole spinner in the team with Broad, Anderson, and Ollie Robinson being the pace attack.
Ben Stokes’ own fitness has some issues as he took two days off bowling to nurse a long-standing knee complaint, but insists that everything will be OK when it comes to matchday.
“In terms of myself. it will be similar to Pakistan, picking the moment when it will be best to get my overs in. Everything is good, bowling wise. I’ll have a trundle tomorrow, it’s just making sure I get everything I need in before we start,” Stokes said.
Asked where his inspiration as a leader comes from, Stokes cited Collingwood from his time playing under him for Durham and Eoin Morgan who revolutionized England’s white-ball set-up, before insisting that he is a leader of instinct and action rather than study and planning.
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