Ashley Giles hints at ‘new faces’ for England-New Zealand Test series

Ashley Giles has said that England “may have to look at some new faces” in the two-match Test series to open the summer against New Zealand.

England had been expected to field a different looking side against New Zealand when the series gets underway on June 2 due to a clash with the Indian Premier League, where several experienced players were committed to playing.

However, with the IPL postponed on May 4 due to the growing coronavirus crisis in India, the returning Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali – all currently serving their 10-day isolation time in government-approved hotels – could now be available for selection.

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Giles, the managing director of men’s cricket at the ECB, has suggested those in quarantine may be eased back into action gently and that England are likely to still look at a bigger pool of players this summer.

“We’re going to treat it on a case-by-case basis,” Giles said. “All these guys are currently in quarantine and have had a number of spells in quarantine and bubbles in this last period.

“We need to look after them, with the amount of cricket they’ve got coming up, we’re not going to rush or force them back into cricket.

“[Head coach] Chris Silverwood will work with each and every one of them, as will our medical teams, on what’s best for their progress.”

Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley are currently both out injured and Jofra Archer is doubtful, having only just returned to action with Sussex’s 2nd XI.

Archer’s uncapped county colleague Ollie Robinson is being tipped for a possible debut after an eye-catching start to the season, while Somerset’s Craig Overton, who won the last of his four Test caps in September 2019, has also been in superb form with the ball.

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Gloucestershire wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey, who has spent much of the past year in England bubbles, is averaging 52.70 and is another being touted for a call-up as a viable top-order option.

“What we do know, and what’s not going to change, is the weight of cricket,” added Giles. “Given the Ashes series [this winter], we don’t know what conditions that’s going to be played in at the moment with regard to a Covid environment, but we are going to need a bigger group of players still.

“We may also choose against New Zealand to look at some new faces.

“With the amount of other cricket we have to play, we almost want to get this tapering towards the Ashes. We have got to get that right.

“Is that against New Zealand? I don’t know, that’s something for us to continue to discuss.”

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