Gloucestershire star James Bracey will hold the ground for England with Ben Foakes injured and Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow rested; Stuart Broad Named Vice Captain With Ben Stokes Injured; Watch England vs New Zealand on Sky Sports Cricket from 10 am, Wednesday
James Bracey will make his England debut against New Zealand at Lord’s starting Wednesday
Gloucestershire goalie-hitter James Bracey will make his England debut against New Zealand in the first Test at Lord’s starting Wednesday, confirmed captain Joe Root.
Bracey gets a chance with the gloves as a result of Ben Foakes sustaining a rare hamstring injury after slipping in the Surrey locker room and Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow among those rested after their stints in the Indian Premier League and the subsequent quarantine.
The 24-year-old has averaged close to 50 top-three batting for Gloucestershire in the County Championship this season, but it seems likely he will hit No. 7 against the Black Caps.
On Bracey, Root said: “He’s worked really hard and he’s been on the team for a long time.
“He has a great work ethic and he came back and performed extremely well for Gloucestershire so we are very excited to see him take advantage of this opportunity. We know what a good player he is and he is in great shape.”
“It is an opportunity for him to embrace and enjoy a great stage in his career.”
Root says England has yet to decide on the full makeup of its team and whether it will deploy top-of-the-line roulette at Jack Leach.
However, the 30-year-old revealed that Stuart Broad will be his vice-captain and that Ben Stokes will miss the series due to a broken finger he sustained while playing for the Rajasthan Royals at the IPL in April.
Root said: “Stuart has been a senior player for a long time.
“He speaks very well, has a very good cricket brain and experience in the captaincy in the short format. He is the right man to take that in the absence of Ben and Jos.”
“He’s really at peace with his game right now. He’s an integral part as a senior player, and very much a leader within that bowling group. I’m very happy for him, and it’s a great opportunity for him to take that on.” .
“You don’t play as many games as he does, nor do you have the record that he has, without going through some difficult moments in your career. A lot of times that’s the way you respond to that.
“He has always done extremely well, and that is why he is such a wonderful player, and one of the best in the world.”
The first test will be the first in England to be played in front of fans since September 2019.
Crowds of around 7,500 a day are expected at Lord’s, before increasing to 18,000 at Edgbaston from June 10 with the second test selected as a pilot event.
Root added: “It will be great to have the fans back, that atmosphere back and see people enjoy our sport again live. That’s what it’s all about.
“When I was a kid going to those games meant a lot to me and it will be great to see some young people in and around the crowd this week enjoying live cricket again.
“It is a step forward and I hope it can continue as the summer progresses and we can really enjoy it as a sport.”
Catch the first test between England and New Zealand, at Lord’s, live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 10am on Wednesday.