England might be set to leave out seamer Stuart Broad to accommodate both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, along with 38 year old veteran quick James Anderson, who is set to lead the bowling attack.
The exclusion of Broad would mean that the Nottinghamshire seamer will miss his first Test match on home soil in 8 years, the previous occasion was against the same opponent when they toured England in 2012. Broad is 15 wickets away from reaching the elusive 500 Test match wickets club, the second Englishman to do so.
Unless there are any decisions taken at the 11th hour, England seemed to have decided to play both Archer and Wood for the first time in Test Cricket. Archer, who has 30 wickets in his first seven Tests, missed three Tests in South Africa in January with a stress fracture of the elbow, but is fit again. Wood returned to the XI in those two matches and excelled. He has 18 wickets in his last three Tests, including six for 45 in England’s victory over West Indies.
Ben Stokes will complete the seam attack, being the 4th seamer along with his responsibilities of middle order batting and captaincy in the absence of Joe Root, who left the England camp to attend the birth of his second child. Kent top order batsman Zak Crawley, who made his Test debut against New Zealand at Seddon Park in 2019 on the back of 820 runs in 13 County Championship matches in 2019, averaging 34.17, will replace Root at 4.
Stokes, who is set to be the 81st England captain in Test Cricket, said that Root advised him to do the job in his own way. He said, “The best message that I’ve received was when I got my photos done yesterday with the blazer,” Stokes said. “Rooty just left a message on the hanger which said, ‘do it your way.’ When I first got asked I said I’d be open to opinions. Just because Joe’s not here, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to use him. Joe’s always been very open and willing [to listen] to advice from players, so I think I’d be stupid to go away from that. We’ve got so much experience in this team that it would be silly not to lean on that if I feel like I need some advice. With Joe and his personal situation it’s been a case of letting him deal with that. I haven’t been on him too much but I know as soon as the Test match starts, I know he’ll be at home watching and I know that his phone will always be available for me to get in contact with him if I need to.”
SOURCE: WILL MACPHERSON, London Evening Standard