Bracey, Robinson get England Test calls, Stokes 'making excellent progress'

By Sports Desk May 18, 2021

James Bracey and Ollie Robinson have been handed their first England Test call-ups, while Craig Overton earns a recall to a 15-man squad.

Chris Silverwood's options have been limited for the two-match home series against New Zealand next month.

Superstar all-rounder Ben Stokes (finger) and fast bowler Jofra Archer (elbow) are both injured, while Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes are all rested after completing a quarantine period following their return home from the postponed Indian Premier League.

It means wicketkeeper-batsman Bracey and seamer Robinson both get the call, rewarded for impressive performances in the early stages of the County Championship season.

Bracey averages 37.30 across his first-class career, but is at an impressive 53 – courtesy of 478 runs – for Gloucestershire so far this season. Robinson, meanwhile, has claimed 29 wickets at just 14 apiece for Sussex.

Both men have already toured with England as reserves in Sri Lanka and India, while they were included in extended groups for the Tests last year against West Indies and Pakistan.

Somerset all-rounder Overton, who has four caps, is set to return to the fold for the first time since the 2019 Ashes.

Head coach Silverwood said: "The summer of Test cricket will be fascinating.

"Playing the top two teams in the world, in New Zealand and India, is perfect preparation for us as we continue to improve and progress towards an Ashes series in Australia at the back end of the year. 

"With several players not available through injury or being rested for the New Zealand series, it is an opportunity for us to reward those who have been on the fringes of England squads over the past 12 months."

Silverwood also provided an update on Stokes, adding: "Ben Stokes is making excellent progress following his fractured left index finger sustained last month in the Indian Premier League.

"If he continues to improve without any impact on his rehabilitation, we could see him return next month for Durham in the Vitality Blast competition.

"We will assess him again towards the end of this month."

Archer had been ruled out on Sunday after a persistent elbow injury flared up again on his return to action for Sussex.

"We need to get this resolved once and for all to give him the best chance of being fully fit as we build up to an intense winter, which will include a T20 World Cup and the Ashes," Silverwood said.

"We need him firing in all formats of the game."


England squad in full:

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood.

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