New skipper Ben Stokes wants England to feel ‘free’ as Stuart Broad and James Anderson recalled | Cricket News
Stokes has taken over as skipper from Joe Root, with England on a woeful run of one win in 17 Tests.
But the all-rounder told reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday: “There’s been a lot of talk about a ‘reset’, which is a word I don’t like. “I just see it as a completely blank canvas. I just want everyone to feel free under my captaincy.
“This is our time and we are going to dictate how things go forward. Everyone is starting fresh.”
Anderson, 39 and Broad, 35, England’s two most successful bowlers of all time, with a combined 1,177 wickets between them, were both controversially left out of the squad for a 1-0 series loss in the West Indies earlier this year.
But they return for the first match under England’s new leadership duo of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, in an XI named on Wednesday — a day ahead of schedule.
England have also given a debut to fast bowler Matthew Potts, a county colleague of Stokes at Durham.
Potts gets his chance ahead of fellow squad member Craig Overton, after an injury crisis deprived England of several fast bowlers including Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Jofra Archer.
The 23-year-old has been selected on the back of a fine start to the county season, having taken 35 wickets for Durham in his opening six County Championship matches.
“He’s been outstanding in the games I’ve played,” said Stokes of Potts.
“It’s not been all plain sailing for bowlers and he’s created things out of nowhere.
“The thing that made my mind up about Pottsy was when he bowled us to victory against Glamorgan.
“He turned up with a bit of a stiff side, with Test selection coming he could have just sat back and said ‘I’m going to look after myself’ but he didn’t. He ran in and won the game for us.
“That’s the attitude that opens your eyes. This kid is an athlete and everything I expect this team to be about going forward.”
England had previously removed some of the doubt surrounding their side for this opening match of a three-Test series by indicating Jonny Bairstow would bat at number five, with Ollie Pope pencilled in at first-wicket down.
That means the in-form Harry Brook, a Yorkshire colleague of Bairstow, must wait for his Test debut.
Brook has scored 840 runs at a colossal average of 140 so far this campaign but has been unable to find a place in a familiar-looking top six.
England are currently bottom of the World Test Championship table with New Zealand, who’ve yet to name their team, the reigning World Test champions after defeating India in last year’s inaugural final at Southampton.
England team to play New Zealand in the first Test at Lord’s:
Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wkt), Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
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