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Our writers pick their England squads for the New Zealand Test tour

Bairstow
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Our writers have their say on who they think should be included in the England touring party for their upcoming two-match Test series in New Zealand. The squad will be announced on Monday.

Jo Harman – Magazine editor, Wisden Cricket Monthly

  1. Rory Burns
  2. Dom Sibley
  3. Joe Denly
  4. Joe Root (c)
  5. Ben Stokes
  6. Jos Buttler
  7. Ben Foakes (wk)
  8. Sam Curran/Chris Woakes
  9. Jofra Archer
  10. Stuart Broad
  11. Jack Leach
  12. Ollie Pope
  13. Sam Curran/Chris Woakes
  14. Moeen Ali
  15. Jamie Porter

Dom Sibley has been the standout batsman in the County Championship this year

Bairstow is averaging 20 this year and keeps missing straight ones so he has a restorative winter in the nets, with Foakes taking the gloves. It’s a tight call between Sibley and Pope for the final batting spot but the former gets the nod because I want that middle-order engine room of Root, Stokes, Buttler – England’s three most likely match-winners all in their best positions. Porter (50-plus Championship wickets for the fifth year in succession) should enjoy a bit of nip from Kiwi wickets and edges out Saqib Mahmood (who’ll be part of the T20 squad) as the fifth seamer.

Phil Walker – Editor-in-chief, Wisden Cricket Monthly

  1. Rory Burns
  2. Dom Sibley
  3. James Vince
  4. Joe Root (c)
  5. Ben Stokes
  6. Jos Buttler
  7. Ben Foakes (wk)
  8. Sam Curran
  9. Moeen Ali
  10. Jofra Archer
  11. Stuart Broad
  12. Ollie Pope
  13. Jack Leach
  14. Jamie Porter
  15. Chris Woakes

James Vince’s last Test appearance was in New Zealand last year

My keenness to get Pope in the team isn’t yet so overpowering that Buttler has to take the gloves to accommodate him, so I’m going with Foakes at No.7, leaving Buttler – a hugely underrated technician – to properly establish himself at six. Moeen comes back in (at No.9!), and Curran on Kiwi pitches adds a welcome left-arm option. I thought Curran was excellent at The Oval, causing Smith problems, and just edges out Woakes.

The other back-up seamer, Porter, will be a good fall-back option, and with South Africa to come, he could well make his debut this winter. His record is outstanding. Talking of which, Sibley has to play, completing the most reassuringly unsexy opening pair since Athey and Robinson, leaving Vince – whose late-summer brilliance has swung it for me – to resume his tango with the Test game at first drop. And it’ll help Joe move down to No.4. It’s brutish on Joe Denly, but he’ll always have The Oval, and his wife could do with a hand.

Yas Rana – wisden.com, staff writer

  1. Rory Burns
  2. Dom Sibley
  3. Joe Denly
  4. Joe Root (c)
  5. Ben Stokes
  6. Ollie Pope
  7. Jos Buttler (wk)
  8. Sam Curran
  9. Jack Leach
  10. Jofra Archer
  11. Stuart Broad
  12. Chris Woakes
  13. Moeen Ali
  14. Ben Foakes
  15. Lewis Gregory

Lewis Gregory was in England’s squad for their one-off Test against Ireland earlier in the summer

The lack of alternatives has much as to do with Sibley’s inclusion in my side as the volume of runs he has amassed this year. With only 12 months of consistent run-scoring behind him, he isn’t an ideal candidate for immediate selection but England aren’t exactly spoilt for choice. His insatiable appetite for runs, the number of balls he eats up (he has been dismissed just once every 156 balls faced this summer) and how his selection impacts the rest of the batting line-up does at least make the idea of Sibley in the side an attractive one.

He pushes all of Denly, Root, Stokes, Pope (who is England’s best prospect since Root) and Buttler down to their most natural positions at this point in time. Curran marginally nudges Woakes out of the side, while Bairstow misses out entirely. Since his reinvention as a world class ODI opener, his Test form has deteriorated beyond recognition – carrying the drinks will not change that. Fit again Gregory pips the other right-arm medium-fast options on the basis that he was the man in possession before his foot injury in August.

John Stern – Editor-at-large, Wisden Cricket Monthly

  1. Rory Burns
  2. Joe Denly
  3. Dom Sibley
  4. Joe Root (c)
  5. Ben Stokes
  6. Jonny Bairstow
  7. Jos Buttler (wk)
  8. Sam Curran
  9. Jofra Archer
  10. Stuart Broad
  11. Jack Leach
  12. Jamie Porter
  13. Lewis Gregory
  14. Craig Overton
  15. Ollie Pope

Jamie Porter, an England Lions regular, has taken 314 first-class wickets since the start of 2015

If England hadn’t won that last Test, we could be having a very different conversation, starting with Root’s captaincy. There is a danger that the victory at The Oval does still paper over the not insubstantial cracks in England’s Test line-up and strategy. Bairstow has turned himself into a very decent wicket-keeper but it’s not working out right now and there’s no point in having him batting at seven when Buttler can do that role so much better. So the gloves go back to Jos and Jonny will just have to suck it up – maybe he doesn’t get even get in the XI!

Pope and Sibley seem obvious choices and Root can drop back to four if he likes now. Denly deserves to stay even if it feels like he’s been playing at full capacity at this level. In other words, how much growth is there? But he’s canny and experienced. Pace bowling feels like a problem area with the injuries to Mark Wood and Olly Stone. I was half tempted to bring Middlesex legend Toby Roland-Jones back into the fold. I’m leaving Woakes at home to rest his troublesome knee. Porter has taken a chunk of wickets for Essex again, Gregory likewise for Somerset and remember he was in the squad for Ireland. There’s no need for a second spinner so there’s no point having Moeen carrying the drinks/wiping the specs for our new National Treasure. And in any case, Root was bowling like Jim Laker at the end of the Ashes.

 

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