ENG vs NZ Test series: 5 key players to watch out for | 5 players to watch out for in the upcoming England vs New Zealand Test series
The English summer is probably the most exciting period in the calendar year for all cricket lovers around the globe. This year, the English summer is going to start with a bang as the home side will lock horns with the number two ranked Test side, New Zealand.
England are going to face some real challenges in the absence of some of their key players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes. On the other hand, the Kiwis are touring England after a huge gap of six years and hence it is not going to be a cake walk for them as well. There are some players who I think will play key roles for their respective teams in this two-match series and I am going to mention five such players in this article. Here we go.
The first one in my list is Joe Root. The English batting lineup depends largely on him in the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. He was in fantastic touch in the recent series against India and Sri Lanka. If I talk about overall stats, Root has scored 426 runs at a very impressive average of 53.25 against New Zealand in England. The last time he played against the Kiwis, Root scored 239 runs at an amazing average of 79.67. He has to play the most important role for England to put solid totals. It will be interesting to see how he goes this time.
Although Williamson doesn’t have a great overall record in England, his numbers at Lord’s, where the first Test is scheduled, is magnificent. He has scored 225 runs at a brilliant average of 56.25 at this particular venue. He is a more experienced player now than he was in 2015 when the Kiwis toured England for the last time. He had an extraordinary home season against West Indies and Pakistan in 2020-2021. Obviously, he is going to be the key batsman for the visitors and their overall success with the bat will depend on their skipper to a great extent.
Stuart Broad is the partner in crime of James Anderson. He has terrific numbers at both the grounds, Lord’s and Edgbaston, where the 2 Tests are scheduled to be played. He has a bowling average of just over 27 and a SR of 53.52 at Lord’s, whereas his average and SR with the ball at Edgbaston are 23.63 and 47.23 respectively.
He had a fabulous summer last year against West Indies and Pakistan as he picked 29 wickets at a superb average of 13.41 and a SR of 31.89 in both the series combined. He has pretty good numbers against New Zealand as well (an average of 27.18 and SR of 51.53). Broad and Anderson form the most lethal duo in England as we have seen over the years. So, I expect some serious returns from Stuart Broad in the absence of other frontline experienced seamers like Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer.
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Among the Kiwi seamers in the squad, Trent Boult has done the best in England. Boult has picked 21 wickets in just 4 games in England including 2 fifers. He is an outstanding swing bowler and would definitely like to bowl in English conditions. Talking about the technical flaws of the Englishmen, Rory Burns goes far too across; Dom Sibley, though gritty, has some technical limitations around both off and leg stump channels as well. Also, the English middle order is supposed to be a bit inexperienced in the absence of Stokes and Buttler. So I feel it is a great chance for Boult to exploit them and he is definitely going to play the most crucial role with the ball for the Kiwis.
The one player I definitely expect to perform admirably in this series is the 38-year old veteran James Anderson. Anderson has 103 scalps at Lord’s at a brilliant average of 23.89 and a SR of 52.81. Also, he has a fifer against NZ at that particular venue. His average and SR at the other venue Edgbaston are 22.02 and 46.09 respectively. He has his second best bowling SR against New Zealand; so it’s pretty evident that he loves the Kiwis. Talking about his current form, he was fantastic in Sri Lanka and bowled his heart out in India with utmost control. We all know how good he is in England. So, I really expect Anderson to deliver yet again in this series.
Apart from these guys, Kyle Jamieson, Ollie Pope and BJ Watling are three more players I expect to deliver in this series. Jamieson has been fantastic right from his debut. He possesses the all-round ability and is certainly a key member of the New Zealand test side. The solitary question will be how he deals with the Dukes ball. Pope has been in great touch in the ongoing county Championship as he has notched up 555 runs at a splendid average of 61.67 and hence he surely would like to have a great summer unlike last year. On the other hand, BJ Watling has scored 778 runs against England at an average of 55.57 (2 hundreds, 5 fifties in 15 innings). In England, he has amassed 284 runs at a superb average of 56.8 including 1 hundred and 2 fifties. He would love to end his illustrious career on a high note.
Written by Debashish Sarangi. Follow Debashish on Twitter today.