Stokes: Blank canvas for England at start of a new era

By Sports Desk June 01, 2022

Ben Stokes says everyone will start a new era for England "fresh" with a "blank canvas" when they face New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's.

Stokes replaced Joe Root as captain at the end of April and New Zealander Brendon McCullum has since been installed as head coach.

All-rounder Stokes takes over with England having failed to win any of their past five series and languishing at the bottom of the World Test Championship.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been recalled for Stokes' first match as permanent skipper, while paceman Matthew Potts will make his debut in London on Thursday.

The new captain does not want to hear talk of a 'reset' in the longest format ahead of the three-match series against the Black Caps, as he challenged both older heads and new faces to step up.

"I just want everyone to feel free under my captaincy," Stokes said.

"Obviously there has been talk around the word 'reset', which is something I don't particularly like. I just see this as a complete and utter blank canvas for this Test team going forward.

"We have got so much experience in that dressing room, with myself, Joe, Broady, Jimmy, Jonny [Bairstow], and at the other end we've younger lads with inexperience, but this is our time. We are going to dictate how things go, going forward.

"There is nothing on this blank canvas. Everyone is starting fresh now, whether you are Matt Potts or Stuart Broad or Jimmy Anderson."

New Zealand beat India in the inaugural World Test Championship at the Ageas Bowl last year, but they failed to win their three series since.

The Black Caps drew 1-1 with Bangladesh and South Africa on home soil following a series loss in India.

New Zealand are undefeated in their previous seven Tests against England, winning four and drawing three, but have not celebrated a Test victory at Lord's since 1999.

Potts to bring the potency England have lacked?

Potts gets his chance after making a brilliant start to the season for Durham.

The 23-year-old is the leading wicket-taker in the County Championship with 35 at an average of 18.57. He comes into the team with Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone and Saqib Mahmood on the list of absentees.

Anderson and Broad return after they were overlooked for a 1-0 series defeat against West Indies in the Caribbean.

Little time to adjust for tourists' IPL contingent

Captain Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Southee and Trent Boult will have to make a swift adjustment to red-ball cricket after Indian Premier League stints.

Boult is not expected to play in the first Test after playing in the final for Rajasthan Royals last weekend.

Williamson was dismissed for a duck in a defeat against a First Class Counties XI after a poor IPL season with the bat, but it will surely not be long before the skipper returns to form.

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