England vs New Zealand: Stuart Broad set to be Joe Root's deputy in injured Ben Stokes' absence

England vs New Zealand: Stuart Broad set to be Joe Root’s deputy in injured Ben Stokes’ absence

Joe Root’s regular deputy Ben Stokes had suffered a thumb injury in the IPL’s 14th edition.

Stuart Broad England
Stuart Broad. (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Stuart Broad is set to vice-captain England in Ben Stokes’ absence against New Zealand in the two-Test series that gets underway from June 2 onwards at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. The series, neither a part of the World Test Championship nor the ICC’s Future Tour’s Programme (FTP), has been conducted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) solely to mitigate the pandemic-enforced financial losses over the last year.

A severely depleted England, in the absence of all of its IPL stars, will take New Zealand, who will eye the series as a curtain-raiser for what they will soon embark upon against India at Southampton: World Test Championship final.

Skipper Joe Root’s regular deputy Ben Stokes had suffered a thumb injury in the IPL’s 14th edition while taking Chris Gayle’s catch during Rajasthan Royals’ encounter against the Punjab Kings. Out from cricketing action ever since, including the suspended IPL, Stokes will be missing both Tests against the Kiwis.

Broad, a certain starter at Lord’s tomorrow, has no experience of leading the team in Tests, although he has captained England in three ODIs and 27 T20Is, winning two and 11 respectively.

A slew of stars missing from the England team

Apart from Ben Stokes, England do not have Jofra Archer, who underwent elbow surgery after his injury resurfaced against Kent while representing Sussex in the County 2021. Other all-format players Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes have also been rested after completing a quarantine period following the IPL cancellation.

Sam Billings, however, who was a part of the IPL but did not play a game, has been included in the team after Ben Foakes slipped in the dressing room and torn his hamstring during the County Championship, thereby ruling himself out for at least three months. Despite Billings’ presence, James Bracey, who received his maiden call-up, is set to be given his maiden cap in the first Test.

Apart from Bracey, Sussex pacer Ollie Robinson also earned his maiden call-up after an impressive county season, whereas Haseeb Hameed, the Nottinghamshire’s top-order batter, has been included in the squad, having last played against India during England’s 2016 winter tour.