108 days ago England and New Zealand fought out the closest Cricket World Cup final ever played. On Friday they lock horns again, this time in the T20 format of the game as both step up their preparations for limited overs cricket’s other great showpiece, the ICC Trophy. 20 over cricket’s jamboree will begin in Australia next October with the final to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 15th November 2020. This five match series is a chance for both teams to recalibrate to T20 cricket.
Black Caps Seeking Home Comforts
For New Zealand fans the agony of losing the World Cup final by the smallest of margins at Lord’s was amplified further last week when England’s Rugby team ended New Zealand’s hopes of retaining the Rugby World Cup. Can the Black Caps gain a measure of revenge with a home series win? They’ll have to do it without skipper Kane Williamson who has been forced out with a hip injury. Also out to start the series is premier strike bowler Trent Boult, with fellow paceman Tim Southee captaining the Black Caps.
In Boult’s absence, New Zealand look set to to turn to Blair Tickner who made his T20 debut earlier this year against India. This will, however, be a more experienced side than the one New Zealand recently took to Sri Lanka. The squad retains a strong backbone from the World Cup with Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Gradhomme; whose brilliant spell of economical bowling almost won New Zealand the World Cup, all set to feature.
Silverwood’s First Test
For England it’s a first tour for new head coach Chris Silverwood. The former bowling coach will oversee England’s senior sides in all formats of the game, having got the best out of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer over the summer. Silverwood received a slightly unexpected boost with the news captain Eoin Morgan will be staying on. Many expected Morgan to retire after the World Cup due to his long standing back problem, but the 33-year-old captain has opted to return to lead England into the ICC Trophy.
However after the exhausting summer double header of World Cup and Ashes series, England have opted to rest those who played both series from this T20 tour. That means no Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler or Jofra Archer. They all will play later this November in the two match test series. However having been dropped from the test side Johnny Bairstow will play alongside fellow World Cup winners Adil Rashid, James Vince and Tom Curran the former of whom played in that memorable final.
Elsewhere England have gone with youth, notable selections include all-rounder Sam Curran who’ll get another chance to shine after his breakout performance against Australia this summer. Young batsmen Tom Banton is in after his brilliant form in the Vitality Blast where he hit 549 runs for Somerset. Another form player from the summer, pace bowler Saqib Mahmood also gets his first call up alongside Lancashire teammate Matthew Parkinson.
Bigger Tests Awaits
For both teams this will be the start of their build not only towards ICC Trophy but more immediately challenging winter tours. After the T20 series the two will play a two match Test Series before England head off for a tour of South Africa whilst New Zealand depart for a Test and ODI series against old foes Australia. It’s unlikely anything in this series will live as long in the memory as that extraordinary World Cup climax in July, but with pride at stake and new talent on show, these two teams should give fans a highly entertaining ten days of t20 cricket.
New Zealand Squad: Tim Southee (captain), Trent Boult (games four and five), Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (games one, two and three), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner
England Squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson,
Adil Rashid, James Vince,
New Zealand vs England T20 Series Dates:
1st November- Hagley Oval, Christchurch
3rd November- Westpac Stadium, Wellington
5th November- Saxton Oval, Nelson
8th November- McLean Park, Napier
10th November- Eden Park, Auckland
Featured Image: Indian Express