New Zealand Vs England 2021 Test Series Preview—an understated rivalry.
“Bowled ’em! Got him 3rd ball.”
“England have won the world cup by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.”
Scars from Starc’s dismissal of Brendon McCullum in the 2015 World Cup Final & Martin Guptill’s run-out in that Super Over still run deep. The Black Caps have lost the last two ODI World Cup finals, a Champions Trophy final (2009), and four semi-finals (2 T20I, 2 ODI) all within the last fifteen years.
Although South Africa are known as the perennial chokers, and India are the new holders of the tag after an underachieving decade, New Zealand are not that far behind. They have one more shot with a final at Lord’s with the World Test Championship against India. The real question is, are Kiwis prepared for glory?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, New Zealand have important couple of test matches against England as prep.
When and Where?
Here are the dates and the venue for the New Zealand Vs England 2021 Test Series.
- New Zealand Vs England 1st Test: June 2nd-6th, London, Lord‘s,
- New Zealand Vs England 2nd Test: June 10th-14th, Birmingham, Edgbaston
- World Test Championship Final: June 18th-22nd, Southampton, Rose (Ageas) Bowl
I do not know about you, but I am very excited about this series. Since the abandonment of the IPL, there has been barely any international cricket.
This is not part of the World Test Championship (WTC) or the Future Tours Programme (FTC). This series has no-context on paper, but numerous interesting little stories running in the background nevertheless.
New Zealand – Conway’s Debut & Watling’s Retirement Talk of the Town
- Devon Conway has to have one of the greatest cricketing stories in recent memory. Not able to get into the secondary club teams in South Africa 5 years ago, he is now about to get a Test debut at Lord’s. Sold everything in South Africa, churned a mountain runs in New Zealand’s first class system, and has been rewarded accordingly. The result?
- 14 T20Is, 4-50s, best of 99*, 59.12 average, 151.11 SR
- 3 ODIs, 1-100, 1-50, best of 126, 75.00 average, 88.23 SR
- Tough luck for Tom Blundell (2-100s & 2-50s in just 16 innings) & Will Young (couple of county tons coming into the series)
- BJ Watling, one of the greatest wicketkeepers of recent times & definitely for New Zealand, has decided to hang up his boots. Brilliant behind the stumps, and known for his ‘rescue acts.’ A daddy hundred or two from tough situations in the next three Tests will go a long way.
- New Zealand has a wealth of allrounders. Daryl Mitchell’s last outing in international cricket has been a positive one – 100* (ODI) & 102* (Tests). Expect him to slot in the XI even though Colin de Grandhomme is back in the squad (with a great hairdo as well I shall add) & Mitchell Santner is always a valuable asset.
- Although New Zealand now have a well balanced squad and great depth, the big guns will still need to fire—Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Tom Latham, captain Kane Williamson, & veteran Ross Taylor.
England – What do England have to Gain from this Series?
- With Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, the Currans, Chris Woakes, & Jofra Archer (elbow surgery) out due to IPL quarantine, the entire lower-middle order will be missing in action. This will provide the England management to test their depth. Debuts for keeper James Bracey & fast bowler Ollie Robinson on the cards, with the likes of Olly Stone, Craig Overton, and comeback kid, Haseeb Hameed, on the sidelines.
- Jimmy Anderson is poised to play his 161st Test match, joint-highest for England along with Sir Alastair Cook. Eight wickets away from a monumental 1000 first class wickets, 5 wickets away from Anil Kumble‘s 619, and 94 wickets to Shane Warne, it might well be a season of records for Anderson.
- Joe Root has had a stellar Test year with 794 runs & 3 tons, including a couple of daddy hundreds in Sri Lanka & India. Can he back it up with a home season of the ages?
- Burns-Sibley-Crawley against New Zealand’s swing bowlers—The opening combination was under a bit of fire in Asia, but it will not get any easier against Southee-Henry-Jamieson-de Grandhomme-Mitchell-Wagner.
- Partial crowds (around 25%) are back at Lord’s. Good news for cricket fans, and hope things remain safe for time to come.
Verdict: New Zealand win 1-0
|Player of the Series/MVP||Zak Crawley||Henry Nicholls|
|Most Runs||Zak Crawley||Ross Taylor|
|Most Wickets||Stuart Broad||Tim Southee|
|Emerging Player||Ollie Robinson||Will Young|
|Surprise Package||James Bracey (WK)||Daryl Mitchell/ Colin de Grandhomme|
Kiwis have an upper hand, but do not count England out. Both teams are filled with great fast bowling talent, but New Zealand’s all-round & batting has the edge.
I am going with New Zealand 1-0. A closely fought first game, with New Zealand narrowly winning & holding England to at least a draw in the second match.
What about you? Let us know in the comments below!
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My Starting XIs
These are my starting XI for the first Test (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).
- Tom Latham, 2. Tom Blundell, 3. Kane Williamson*, 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Watling*, 7. Daryl Mitchell, 8. Kyle Jamieson, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Matt Henry, 11. Neil Wagner
- Rory Burns, 2. Dom Sibley, 3. Zak Crawley, 4. Joe Root*, 5. Ollie Pope, 6. Dan Lawrence, 7. James Bracey (WK), 8. Ollie Robinson, 9. Stuart Broad, 10. Jack Leach, 11. James Anderson
These are the other options in the squads.
New Zealand: (All-Rounders) 12. Colin de Grandhomme, 13 Mitchell Santner, (Batters) 14. Will Young, 15. Devon Conway (WK), 16. Rachin Ravindra, (Fast Bowlers) 17. Matt Henry, 18. Doug Bracewell, 19. Jacob Duffy, (Spinners), 20. Ajaz Patel
*Trent Boult will be available for the World Test Championship final, but is resting for the England series.
England: (Fast Bowlers) 12. Mark Wood, 13. Olly Stone, 14. Craig Overton, (Batters) 15. Haseeb Hameed, 16. Sam Billings (WK), (Withdrawn) Ben Foakes (WK)
Copyright (2021: 6/1/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – email@example.com