A closer look at England’s Test newcomers
England have handed maiden Test squad call-ups to four players for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, after the drawn Ashes series with Australia.
Joe Root’s team will play two Test matches, the first in Mount Maunganui starting on November 21 and the second in Hamilton – beginning on November 29.
Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson are the new faces in the England set-up for red-ball cricket and PA news agency has taken a look at why they have been selected.
Sibley’s numbers tell the story. The Warwickshire opening batsman had scored 1,324 runs in the County Championship this season before the final round of matches got underway. His next nearest challenger in Division One had not even reached four figures. Sibley, who started out with Surrey, had also faced more than 3,000 balls, showing he potentially has the temperament for Test cricket. The 24-year-old will open with Rory Burns.
Opener Crawley has enjoyed a fine second campaign as a regular in the Kent team. He started out as a middle-order batsmen, but since being promoted to open has settled into the role. Two hundreds, coupled with five half-centuries, in red-ball cricket this year have caught the eye of the England selectors and saw him called up to the Lions squad in July. The 21-year-old responded with 43 against Australia and will now head to New Zealand.
Lancashire fast bowler Mahmood has been talked about for a long time, dating back to when he impressed for England Under-19s at the 2016 World Cup. White-ball cricket has generally been where the 21-year-old has excelled, regularly recording speeds of 90mph in the Royal London Cup and Vitality Blast. But the fast bowler has helped Lancashire win promotion from Division Two this season, taking 21 wickets in nine first-class matches.
Similar to Lancashire team-mate Mahmood, Parkinson, 22, has not got a huge amount of experience in red-ball cricket, but if his leg-spin can be developed over the coming years, England will hope he can be their secret weapon for the next Ashes series in 2020-21. Parkinson only needed four Division Two games this year to reach 20 wickets and highlight his potential.