It’s been less than two weeks since Ben Stokes was made the new England Test captain, so with his first assignment against New Zealand just 4 weeks away, we look at his prospects of starting the rebuilding of the English test team with a win over the Kiwis.
In the current Test world rankings, England is ranked 6th. Their upcoming opponents in New Zealand are 3rd.
Australia grow a solid lead at the top of the ICC Test team rankings following the annual points update 👊
Pakistan have moved above England into fifth in the only change of positions 📈
📸: ESPNcricinfo#ICCRankings #Cricket #CricketTwitter pic.twitter.com/eutqAyIE0k
— CricStats (@_CricStats_) May 4, 2022
While in the World Test Championship that runs from 2021 to 2023, England sits bottom of the nine-team table. New Zealand has had a troubled start and sits 6th at that table.
But it is worth noting, that New Zealand is the current Test Championship winner, having defeated India for the title in June 2021. So it promises to be a tough start for Stokes as England captain.
But with home advantage, and New Zealand not firing on all cylinders, it also represents a good chance for Stokes to get a series win under his belt early in his captaincy.
England Test Team; Where did it all go wrong?
Quite simply, English Test Cricket is at rock bottom. The task Ben Stokes has is hard. But on a positive note, the only way is up for him.
In February 2021, England was looking good. They had just won the 1st Test in India by 227 runs. It was unheard of.
Joe Root was the captain and he led the way with a double century in the 1st Innings, setting up the win.
From that moment onwards, the English Test team has been on a downward spiral. Their Test record since that victory is one win, five draws, and eleven defeats. It’s quite simply a shocking record.
And it wasn’t just the defeats, it was the manner of them. England looked clueless and out of their depth at times.
They were carried by Joe Root’s exceptional batting. It’s hard to imagine how England could have been worse, but without Root, they would have been!
When things had been going well, it was mainly down to Root. The problem was, that Root was simply papering over the glaring big cracks in the walls.
So what can Ben Stokes do to help fill in those cracks?
The Challenge for Stokes
Rather than applying more layers of wallpaper, Ben Stokes has to fill in the cracks with some substantial filler.
The walls of English cricket don’t need rebuilding just yet, but they do need major work, to avoid having to totally demolish them further down the line.
Stokes is already behind the eight ball. The change in captaincy should have been made after the disastrous Ashes tour to Australia, but sadly wasn’t.
As a result, England took a makeshift side to tour the West Indies in what was marketed as a reboot. The reality was, that it was a shambles.
Stokes should have been in charge at this point of building his team. That’s in the past now, and Stokes has already indicated that he wants some of English cricket’s tried and tested players around him when he walks out to face New Zealand in June.
Recalls are expected for experienced bowling duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Maybe even Jos Buttler.
Newly-appointed captain Ben Stokes spoke about James Anderson, Stuart Broad and his vision for the England team 👇#WTC23https://t.co/LtlTLz1JdN
— ICC (@ICC) May 4, 2022
Stokes has also indicated there will be a familiar feel to his England side. A strong side suited to English conditions. He wants to focus on the here and now and wants all players available to him – no rest and rotation rubbish, etc.
There is already a new vibe around his captaincy. But will New Zealand throw a spanner in the works?
England v New Zealand Betting
The best cricket betting sites haven’t made series betting odds available yet, but in the latest cricket betting for the 1st Test, England is the marginal favorite at -120. New Zealand is +100.
|England v New Zealand 2022; 1st Test Betting|
Keep checking here at MyTopSportsbooks, because when the best online sportsbooks release their series odds, we will have all the details here.
The Opposition; World Test Champions New Zealand
First, up for England is a three-match Test series against New Zealand across June.
- When; June 2nd – June 6th
- Where; Lord’s, London
- Time; 6 am ET
- When; June 10th – June 14th
- Where; Trent Bridge, Nottingham
- Time; 6 am ET
- When; June 23rd – June 27th
- Where; Headingley, Leeds
- Time; 6 am ET
The Kiwis have named a strong squad and will be led by influential skipper Kane Williamson.
Captain Kane Williamson returns to the side as New Zealand name a strong extended 20-player squad for their tour of England.
Details 👉 https://t.co/oFFzab2Opm#WTC23 pic.twitter.com/dr5v0VV1eB
— ICC (@ICC) May 4, 2022
Since winning the World Test Championship last June, New Zealand has played 6 Test Matches across three series.
- Most recently, they drew a two-match series 1-1 with South Africa at home in February/March this year.
- Before that, they disappointingly drew 1-1 at home to Bangladesh. Losing a Test match against the Tigers for the first time in history on home soil.
- While late in 2021, they played a two-test series in India, losing one match heavily, and drawing the other.
For various reasons, the Kiwis haven’t had a settled side since winning the World Test Championship. But they look to have gone back to basics for the series in England, and they will prove a tough challenge.
I’m expecting a good hard-fought series, but as it stands, I think England under Ben Stokes’ captaincy can clinch the series.
Don’t forget to check back for more free sports betting picks closer to the series.