Inside Edge Picks - 2nd Test V NZ

After the first Test between the two sides ended in a draw, which was dominated by events off the field rather than the actual cricket played on it, the series moves to Edgbaston for the second Test which starts on Thursday. Will England keep up their "rest and rotation" policy, or will they stick with the same guys who played at Lords? The Inside Edge team have had their say below;


Samuel Bruning


Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root

Pope

Lawrence

Bracey (wk)

Overton

Stone

Broad

Anderson


Following a good recovery to achieve a draw in the first Test, I've made a couple of changes to the side for this deciding game at Edgbaston. Ollie Robinson, who performed exceptionally on the field, is suspended, and out of squad, due to his previous racist Tweets. I replace him with Craig Overton, a like-for-life replacement. Overton also has a racist incident in his past, telling Ashar Zaidi, to “go back to your own f***ing country” in a 2015 game. You can reasonably ask why I've picked him, and not Robinson. It's a fair question, and my answer is a cop-out. This exercise sees us pick an XI out of the squad, and if the ECB deem that Overton should being the squad, and Robinson not, then that's what I have to work with. I appreciate this is a cop-out, but for something more meaningful, I did write about it here. The other change sees me rotate Mark Wood for Olly Stone. Yes, this means Jack Leach misses out again, for which I feel bad. But I'd rather have a mediocre spinner in Joe Root than just three quicks, in English conditions. I've been very impressed with Stone's pace, bounce and movement, and expect he'll add to his seven Test scalps so far, in what would be his third Test. I hope Root lets him bowl, and doesn't try to make him too much of an enforcer, as he has occasionally done with Wood and Jofra Archer. While the batting line-up is frail, I don't see any need to make a change just yet, as the returns of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler for the India series will necessitate this anyway, so possible batting replacements Haseeb Hameed and Sam Billings would only have one game anyway, which seems pointless to me. And on playing both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, with a gap of over a month before the first India Test, I see no reason why both should not play this game, especially given how well they bowled at Lord's.


Duke and Kookaburra


Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root

Pope

Lawrence

Bracey (WK)

Overton/Bess

Wood

Leach/Stone

Anderson


England are boxed into a corner thanks to rotation and disciplinary action and as such picking the XI for Edgbaston without leaving a tail that starts at six is difficult to say the least. I would retain the same top seven though ZC needs runs and is at present the likely fall guy for the India series when Buttler/Stokes/Woakes return; if he fails again in Birmingham, I would leave him out for the India series. At this point my task becomes more complex as Overton is a like for like replacement for the suspended Robinson and balances the team; if England think the tail is just too long, Overton or Bess could easily play and don't rule that out! A Bess recall would be a real slap in the face for Leach, but that's an argument for another day. The short answer is I can see an 8-11 of Wood, Stone, Leach, Anderson. Yes, I know that's a Diplodocus tail. Yes, I know we could be six out all out. Yes, I know the series could go up in smoke. But given the commitment to rotation and rest choices are rather fewer on the ground.


Picking this XI puts serious pressure on the experienced men and the youngsters; England know it, we know it and NZ know it. No pressure lads.


Snicked Behind


Sibley

Burns

Bracey

Root

Pope

Lawrence

Billings (WK)

Overton

Leach

Stone

Broad


After the disaster of the first tests batting display bar the openers who once again showed why they are the best in England, I make several changes Firstly Zak Crawley is dining out on one innings and he was average for Kent and was woeful last game. This is a less ruthless move than Joe Denly received a year ago but Crawley is an all or nothing player and averages just over 30 in first class cricket by no accident. James Bracey who looked dreadfully nervous in his first innings, bats in his natural position. Sam Billings makes his test debut, because why not have a proper number 7 for once? Craig Overton is a contentious pick in these times with his history of racism. I think he's the bestbowler in the championship and I don't see him barred from playing so that's why he makes it as he's the only number 8 in the squad now. Ollie Stone rotates with Mark Wood. Jack Leach comes in to spin us to victory and it's a toss up between Jimmy and Stuart for number 11.


Joshie Green


Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root

Pope

Lawrence

Bracey (WK)

Stone

Leach

Anderson

Broad


It seems morally wrong to replace Ollie Robinson, with someone who has been accused of being verbally racist to a fellow player on the pitch, so giving Olly Stone an opportunity at his home ground seems sensible; Sibley has kept his place in the side with a grinding 50 in the fourth innings of the match at Lords, securing a draw for England. Crawley, in my opinion, deserves at least one more chance to get back into form after his rocky winter.


Rob Rush


Burns

Sibley

Bracey (WK)

Root

Pope

Lawrence

Bess

Leach

Stone

Broad

Anderson


After the events of last week regarding Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton, the ECB have left themselves in a position where neither are available for selection, if they are true to their word about stamping out discrimination. They've also shot themselves in the foot by refusing to pick any IPL players again, meaning key players like Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes won't have played Test cricket since the India series at the end of February. So much for prioritising Test cricket eh?


Zak Crawley has had too many shots in this Test side and is still dining out on that 267 on a flat wicket, plus the shots he played against NZ in both innings were not the shots of a top 3 Test batsman. The issue being, Sam Billings is not a Test player either, so I'm left in the unfortunate position of having to shift James Bracey up to three, and have him keeping as well. It's unheard of for any high quality Test batsman to have the gloves at three, but this is purely a one-off scenario, with Buttler coming back to take the gloves for India and Bracey staying at three. With only 6 recognised batsman in my lineup, who are very inexperienced outside of Joe Root, it's even more pressure on them to perform. If only England had picked Chris Woakes or Sam Curran when they decided to break their IPL promise instead of Sam Billings....


Dom Bess comes back in to the squad, deservingly or undeservingly is for personal interpretation and with no Curran or Woakes to balance the side at 7, plus the added caveat of Overton and Robinson making themselves unpick-able with their previous exploits, Bess with his solid defensive technique could provide some ballast there. And to be honest, there isn't a lot of other choices for the team. Jack Leach comes back into the team when he shouldn't have been dropped for the first Test at all, so having two frontline spin options will be a nice card for Root to have up his sleeve. Olly Stone is rotated for Mark Wood on his home pitch, keeping both fast bowlers fresh, with Broad and Anderson going back-to-back given the huge rest period they will have once this Test series is finished.


There you have it, some very spicy takes from the Inside Edge team. Who would you pick for the second Test? Let us know on Twitter and follow @InsideEdgeCrick for all cricketing updates.





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