England have recalled veteran pace bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad to their side for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s starting Thursday while giving a debut to Durham quick Matthew Potts.
Anderson, 39 and Broad, 35, England’s two most successful bowlers of all time, with a combined 1,177 wickets between them, were both controversially left out of the squad for a 1-0 series loss in the West Indies earlier this year.
But they return for the first match under England’s new leadership duo of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, in an XI named a day ahead of schedule on Wednesday.
Potts gets his chance ahead of fellow squad member Craig Overton, after an injury crisis deprived England of several fast bowlers including Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Jofra Archer, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Fisher and Olly Stone.
The 23-year-old Potts has been selected on the back of a fine start to the county season, having taken 35 wickets for Durham in his opening six County Championship matches.
England had previously removed some of the doubt surrounding their side for this opening match of a three-Test series by indicating Jonny Bairstow would bat at number five, with Ollie Pope pencilled in at first-wicket down.
That means the in-form Harry Brook, a Yorkshire colleague of Bairstow, must wait for his Test debut.
Brook has scored 840 runs at a colossal average of 140 so far this campaign but has been unable to find a place in a familiar-looking top six.
England are currently bottom of the World Test Championship table following a woeful run of one win in 17 games.
New Zealand, who’ve yet to name their team, are the reigning World Test champions after defeating India in last year’s inaugural final at Southampton.
Both Stokes and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson are due to hold press conferences at Lord’s later Wednesday.
England team to play New Zealand in the first Test at Lord’s:
Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wkt), Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson