England National Cricket Selectors have named the following 16-man Test squad for the tour of New Zealand starting in March.
Squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes & Mark Wood (Durham)
The 24-year-old Lancashire right-hand batsman Liam Livingstone has been included in the squad for the first time.
Commenting on the selection of Livingstone, National Selector James Whitaker, said: “Liam has been a player that we have been impressed with for quite some time, having performed well in the county system with Lancashire and over the past couple of years with the England Lions. He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena. During the recent Lions tour of Australia, he was a standout performer and showed a lot of maturity in his attitude and put in some strong performances. We are particularly impressed with the way he bats against spin and is equally adept against the seamers. Liam is also highly regarded at his county Lancashire and will captain the side in the Specsavers County Championship during the 2018 campaign.”
Selectors have also recalled Durham seamer Mark Wood, who returns to the Test squad for the first time since last year.
“After a frustrating period with injuries, Mark is now back to full fitness and is looking forward to being part of our Test plans. He will play a significant part in our forthcoming ODI tour of Australia and we will be paying close attention to his efforts over the next few weeks.”
Ben Stokes is included, though his involvement remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September. Should the ECB Board receive formal confirmation that Stokes has either been charged or that he will face no charges, they would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability for the team at that stage.
From the recent Ashes Test squad, Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance, Nottinghamshire seamer Jake Ball and Surrey all-rounder Tom Curran all miss out.
“All three players (Gary Ballance, Jake Ball, Tom Curran) have worked hard on the recent Ashes tour,” said Whitaker.
“Unfortunately, they miss out on selection for New Zealand. All three will return to county cricket and will be looking to start the season well with a view to staking their claim to get back into selection reckoning. They are talented players and I am sure their time will come again.”
England’s tour of New Zealand 2018- Match schedule
Thursday 22-26 March 2018
First Test match (D/N)
New Zealand v England
Eden Park, Auckland
Friday 30 March-3 April 2018
Second Test match
New Zealand v England
Hagley Oval, Christchurch