England has recalled all-time leading wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the opening two matches of a three-Test series against New Zealand in June.
The pacemen were controversially left out of the squad for the recent tour of the Caribbean, which England lost 1-0, hot on the heels of a humiliating 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.
But the veteran bowlers, with a combined age of 74, were on Thursday named in a 13-man squad as England prepares for the first match of Ben Stokes’s reign as England captain at Lord’s, starting on June 2.
Star batsman Joe Root, who quit as captain last month, has retained his place in the squad, the first selected since new managing director Rob Key and incoming head coach Brendon McCullum, a former New Zealand captain, were appointed to their England roles.
England has called up Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham paceman Matthew Potts, both 23, for the first time.
Brook gets his chance following a series of repeated failures by England’s top order. He has been in fine form for Yorkshire this season, scoring 758 runs at an average of 151.60 in the first division of the County Championship.
Potts has been given a chance after an injury crisis among England’s quick bowlers ruled out Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Fisher, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Olly Stone and Ollie Robinson. Jack Leach was selected as the lone specialist spinner, with no place for uncapped leg -break bowler Matt Parkinson.
England has retained Alex Lees and Zak Crawley, its opening batters in the West Indies, as well as Ben Foakes, for what could be the wicketkeeper’s first home Test.
The experienced Jonny Bairstow also keeps his place despite his ongoing involvement in the Indian Premier League.
‘Start of a new era’
“This is the start of a new era for our Test team under the stewardship of Ben and Brendon,” said Key.
“With a blend of youth and experience, we have selected an exciting squad that can compete with New Zealand in next month’s Test series.”
The former England batter added: “We have rewarded players in Harry Brook and Matty Potts who have had outstanding starts to the county season, and they deserve the opportunity to stake a claim at this level.
“It promises to be a mouthwatering series and I can’t wait for the team to start against a very good New Zealand side.”
The second Test starts at Trent Bridge, in Nottingham, on June 10, with the final match of the series taking place at Headingley, in Leeds, from June 23.
Ben Stokes (Durham, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonnny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Harry Brook (Yorkshire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey, wkt), Jack Leach (Somerset) ), Alex Lees (Durham), Craig Overton (Somerset), Matthew Potts (Durham), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire)