England have named their 16-man squad for the upcoming series in New Zealand. The visitors will play 2 test matches that will start from 22nd March at Eden Park, Auckland. All-rounder Ben Stokes have made a return to the Test squad after missing the Ashes series in Australia after he suffered an indefinite ban due to his altercation in Bristol during home series against West Indies played in September.
England missed the services of their talismanic all-rounder as Australia beat their old rivals by a margin of 4-0 in the five-match series. The side led by Joe Root is scheduled to play two test matches against New Zealand in the coming month of February. New Zealand will present a stern challenge as England managed to escape with draw in 2013.
Ben Stokes participated in New Zealand T20 competition while representing Canterbury. He did well with the bat and ball. However, it is not certain that he will play for England against New Zealand due to ongoing investigation being carried out in relation to infamous brawl at Bristol. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will make a clear decision on Stokes availability for the national side if a decision is given on the incident immediately.
Uncapped batsman Liam Livingstone who plays for Lancashire in the County Championship has earned his maiden call-up to the national side. The 24-year old has been performing well across all formats and has been a part of England Lions side for quite a time now. He scored almost 800 runs in this year’s County Championship with an average of 47. He also produced his career-best innings of 224 against Warwickshire.
England Chief selector James Whitaker said that Liam has been impressive in the last couple of years and has quickly rose to the spotlight due to excellent performances for Lancashire. Mark Wood also has made a return to the squad after his fitness issues that have kept him out of the side for six months. James Vince, Mark Stoneman have been retained in the Test squad as selectors want them to give a long run to cement their place in the side.
England Test Squad for tour of New Zealand: Joe Root (c), Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.