England name uncapped duo Ollie Robinson and James Bracey in 15-man squad for first Test series of the summer against New Zealand
- England are without Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and their IPL contingent
- Absences provides opportunities for likes of Ollie Robinson and James Bracey
- Both are uncapped and are included in 15-man squad to face New Zealand
- Somerset’s Craig Overton has also been selected for first summer assignment
England have named two uncapped players in Sussex’s Ollie Robinson and Gloucestershire’s James Bracey for their first international assignment of the summer.
The absence of the injured Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer and England’s IPL contingent for the two-Test series against New Zealand next month provides opportunities in a 15-man squad for fringe players including the newcomers plus Somerset’s Craig Overton.
Bracey, a top order left-handed batsman and keeper, has scored 478 runs so far this season at an average of 53 in Gloucestershire’s impressive start to the Championship season while Robinson has taken 29 wickets at just 14 apiece.
Ollie Robinson has been included in the England squad to take on New Zealand this summer
Both have become familiar with the England set-up having toured as reserves during England’s winter Test programme in Sri Lanka and India and were part of the extended squads during last summer’s series against West Indies and Pakistan.
Overton played the last of his four Tests against Australia at Old Trafford in the last Ashes in 2019 but has added pace and has made an outstanding start to Somerset’s season.
He looks to be competing for the No 8 position vacated by the missing Chris Woakes with Robinson while Bracey provides cover for Dom Sibley as he recovers from a fractured finger.
James Bracey is the other uncapped player to have been selected in the 15-man group
Root (captain), Anderson, Bracey, Broad, Burns, Crawley, Foakes (keeper), Lawrence, Leach, C Overton, Pope, Robinson, Sibley, Stone, Wood.
‘With several players not available it is an opportunity for us to reward those who have been on the fringes of England squads over the past 12 months,’ said Chris Silverwood, who was picking his first squad as selection supremo following the sacking of Ed Smith.
Stokes, meanwhile, is progressing well from is fractured left index finger and is set to return to action next month for Durham in the Twenty20 Blast competition.
And Archer is facing an operation on his chronic right elbow injury that could force him out of the whole international summer.
‘We need to get this resolved once and for all to give Jofra the best chance of being fully fit for an intense winter,’ added Silverwood.
Craig Overton of Somerset is also in the squad and has played four Tests for England