England head coach Trevor Bayliss has suggested that there could be selection changes following a winless winter.
England endured a torrid winter as they failed to retain the Ashes, falling to a 4-0 drubbing Down Under, while Joe Root’s side were unable to break New Zealand’s nerve as the Kiwis held on to claim a 1-0 series win.
England have really struggled in recent months. The Ashes defeat was not entirely unexpected, although the score line was disappointing, but the tame submission to New Zealand in Auckland, where England were bowled out for 58 in the first innings, took the side to a new low.
The most worrying figure must be that the top order continues to struggle. Mark Stoneman and James Vince both added credibility to their reason for selection. Opener Stoneman scored 60, while Vince hit 76 in England’s second innings against New Zealand in the second Test in Christchurch but, on the other hand, Alastair Cook struggled to just 23 runs in four innings against the Black Caps – meaning that he passed 50 just once over the entirety of the winter, when he scored an unbeaten 244 in Melbourne.
But, with the County Championship getting underway on 13 April, there will be opportunities for numerous players to show their potential to the England selection committee ahead of the first Test of the English summer, against Pakistan on 24 May.
Bayliss, the England head coach, stated: “Those early matches back home, I think, will mean a lot.
“There are chances available – if you’re scoring a lot of runs and taking a lot of wickets, you’re going to be very close.
“(But) I don’t think there’s anyone at home putting their hand up at the moment and saying come and pick me.”
Meanwhile, ex-England bowler Graeme Swann suggested that young players should see this as a great chance to break into the England set-up.
“England will leave New Zealand with as many questions as they had when they arrived, which is disappointing,” he told the BBC’s Test Match Special.
“Reading between the lines, I think they’re going to continue with Vince, but they’re not convinced about Stoneman.
“If I were a young player in the country like Nick Gubbins or Haseeb Hameed, I’d be thinking I can get in.”
By Matt Lee