Hello and welcome to the first Inside Edge Picks for the English Summer!
Today 5 writers have picked their 15 man squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand.
Lets see who picked sensible and who picked spicy; including a debut for the series to @joshie_green
Joshie Green @joshie_green
Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Haseeb Hameesd, Dan Lawrence, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Ben Foakes (wk), Sam Curran, Craig Overton, Dom Bess, Matt Parkinson, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson
Although not a particularly seam-heavy attack for English pitches, especially if Chris Silverwood carry’s on England’s rotation policy for Anderson and Broads, fans all over the country would look forward to seeing Ollie Robinson perform in an England shirt, after his stellar performances with the ball for Sussex.
Craig Overton, who has played four test matches, with an average of 44 with the ball and 20 with the bat. Although these might not seem like test match level stats, he has performed very well on a consistent basis. In Somerset’s game against Hampshire two weeks ago, he took 4-26 in the 1st innings and 5-66 in the second. He is also more than handy with the bat, scoring the top score for Somerset of 74 runs.
Haseeb Hameed has earnt his place in the side, scoring an exceptional 111 and 114* against Worcs at the beginning of the season. On the other hand, he has shown signs of flakiness, for example scoring ten and a duck against Durham.
Duke and Kookabura @d_ktalkballs
Root, Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Pope, Lawrence, Foakes, Bracey, Leach, Anderson, Stone, Broad, Overton, Robinson.
With Silverwood and the King of Spain both signalling that England's IPL contingent will miss at least the first Test, this is the perfect window to give the fringe players a chance at Test cricket; with a heavy 2021 and winter schedule ahead it would be ludicrous not to see some new faces. To that end, with one eye on the pitch my starting XI for the Lord's Test is: Burns, Crawley, Bracey, Root, Pope, Lawrence, Foakes, Robinson, Leach, Stone, Anderson
Stokes' absence is a real blow as his presence balances the side neatly, however a combined fifth and sixth bowling options of Root, Lawrence and even a seventh in the form of Sibley should provide enough of a spin threat; Robinson gets the nod for Lord's having been so close to a debut last summer, Overton would likely be considered for the second Test. Sibley misses out as I want to have a closer look at an in form Bracey and the broken finger came at the wrong time for the Warks man.
Rob Rush @RobRush02
Burns, Sibley, Bracey, Root, Lawrence, Pope, Foakes, C.Overton, Leach, Broad, Anderson, Robinson, Crawley, Stone, Lees
As has been well documented, this series was always going to be hard without the best all-rounder in the world available in Ben Stokes. He is the key to this England side, providing quality with the bat and allowing an extra bowler to be picked in attack, and as pointed out on the Inside Edge Podcast, it’s basically impossible to replace him. It seems most likely that the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Dan Lawrence, who has come off the winter tours and playing some phenomenal cricket, averaging over 50 and accelerating from 100-150 in just 21 balls in Essex’s last game. Elsewhere, the batting lineup basically picks itself, with a few changes from the last Test summer. With no IPL players likely to be picked, Ben Foakes will keep the gloves for this series and I’ve gone with James Bracey at 3 over Zak Crawley. Crawley hasn’t done anything of note in either an England or Kent shirt since his 267 against Pakistan, averaging a measly 29 this season with no century. Meanwhile, Bracey has been a key cog in Gloucestershire's rise to the top of Group 2, averaging an impressive 53.11 with 4 50’s and a century propelling his side to the brink of qualification.
The man tasked with the “all-rounder” job with no Stokes, Chris Woakes or Sam Curran available is Craig Overton. He has started the season brilliantly for Somerset and can count himself unlucky to not have more England caps; this is the perfect time for him to add to them. Anderson and Broad pick themselves, and I've not gone with Jofra Archer in order to let him fully rest his elbow, as it flared up once more in Sussex’s game against Kent. With a T20 World Cup and Ashes series in Australia at the end of the year which he will be crucial for, there is no need to rush him back to Test cricket too early. Plus, the form of his county teammate Ollie Robinson cannot be ignored any longer, while we are yet to see what the pocket rocket Olly Stone can do consistently in English conditions on the Test stage; England’s pace bowling reserves are stacked on paper, I'd like to see them explored in a bit of depth this summer in order to prepare us for when Broad and Anderson decide to call it a day. In the spin department, there’s only one man for the job in Jack Leach, with Matty Parkinson waiting in the wings for his chance. Crawley and Alex Lees are my replacement batsmen; Lees’ form for Durham has been really impressive so far, with an average of 52.5 this season too good to ignore in my books.
Samuel Bruning @SamuelBruning
J. Root (c), J. Anderson, J. Porter, J. Bracey, S. Broad, R. Burns, Z. Crawley, B. Foakes, D. Lawrence, J. Leach, C. Overton, O. Pope, O. Robinson, D. Sibley, O. Stone
With Ben Stokes out injured, England’s challenge for this series is finding the balance for the side. Therefore, I’ve tried to keep options open in this squad. James Bracey could keep wicket, with the bowlers then starting at seven, or Joe Root could play as the spinner, to allow four quicks from eight to eleven. While I would have Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes in the squad, the current expectation is that England will not pick IPL players, so, sadly, I’ve left both out. I don’t pick Matt Parkinson, as while I’d like to see him have a go at Test level, I think he’s unlikely to play, so is best staying with Lancashire for the time being. And I also leave out Mark Wood, as I tend to see him as more effective outside of the UK. Selecting from this 15 will be difficult though, as I want to see debuts for Ollie Robinson and James Bracey and returns for Olly Stone and Dan Lawrence, but also feel that whomever gets dropped will justifiably feel unfortunate.
Snicked behind @SnickedbehindATC
Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Bracey, Root, Lawrence, Pope, Foakes, Overton, Anderson, Broad, Leach, Robinson, Stone, Lees
Nothing that shocking about my decisions. Alex Lees has been in fine form this season so far and hence comes in as a further batting reserve, meaning that should Foakes go down injured; Bracey is free to move down the order and a hole not appear in the top order. Craig Overton, Ollie Stone and Ollie Robinson all are battling to come into the pace battery, with my person favourite being Overton given his ability with the bat. Mark Wood misses out as I think there are better uses of his time and work load given his injury record given his importance for the T20 world cup and Ashes later this year.
There we have it; five different squads. Let us know your thoughts @InsideEdgeCrick on twitter