England’s Potts to make debut against New Zealand
Potts has been the outstanding bowler in the county championship this year with 35 wickets at 18.57 each Matthew Potts (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Durham pace bowler Matthew Potts will make his international debut in the first of three tests between England and New Zealand at Lord’s starting on Thursday in what will also be his inaugural first class match at the world’s most famous ground.
Potts, who has been the outstanding bowler in the county championship this year with 35 wickets at 18.57 each, will join veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad who have been recalled after they were omitted from the team who lost 1-0 in the West Indies this year.
Ben Stokes, who has taken over the England captaincy from Joe Root after a dismal winter for England in Australia and the Caribbean, completes the pace quartet.
However, at least six other leading pace bowlers, including Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, are unavailable through injury.
Stokes told a pre-match news conference his Durham team mate Potts had been outstanding in the county games they had played together this year.
“This kid is ready, he’s been phenomenal,” Stokes said. “He’s everything I expect this team to be going forward.”
He also paid tribute to the team’s new coach, former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has been tasked with turning around a team who sit bottom of the current test championship standings after winning one of their last 17 tests.
“He is all about making everyone feel, in his words ’10 feet tall’,” Stokes said. “It’s a good few days working for him.”
New Zealand, who won the inaugural test championship final against India last year, were due to name their side after an afternoon practice session.
Captain Kane Williamson, who missed his team’s home series this year against Bangladesh and South Africa because of a long-standing elbow injury, said batter Henry Nicholls who has sustained a calf injury and also tested positive for COVID-19 would be replaced by Daryl Mitchell at number five.
He said left-arm opening bowler Trent Boult, who did not arrive in England until last Monday because of his commitments in the Indian Premier League would be assessed at training and the New Zealanders would examine the ground surface before deciding on their team.
Stokes added his voice to that of former England captain Michael Vaughan who has criticised the price of tickets at Lord’s with more than 16,000 still unsold for the five days.
“The ticket prices is something that I think is going to have to be looked at,” he said.
“What is cricket without its fans? What is sport without its fans? I don’t set the ticket prices but I think it does need to be looked at.”
Team: Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonathan Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes, Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson