Joe Root has no problem unleashing Jofra Archer on Australia as England hope to level the Ashes series during the second Test at Lord’s.
The 24-year-old paceman was named in a 12-man England squad alongside spinner Jack Leach and looks certain to make his Test debut on Wednesday.
And captain Root is excited to see what Archer can bring to red-ball cricket after starring during the victorious World Cup campaign.
Root told a press conference: “He is certainly very confident and that’s great to see in a young guy, as he should be after the World Cup.
“And, as he made very clear, it’s his preferred format so again I’m very excited to see at the start of his journey.
“If anything, it will motivate him and when he gets the chance he will be desperate to prove to everyone how good he is. That’s what you want and he won’t shy away from the challenge.”
Root was full of praise for left-arm seamer Sam Curran, who could also line-up at Lord’s after Moeen Ali was dropped.
Root added: “Sam is a brilliant talent and can change the game with bat and ball.
“His record is fantastic and has had a huge impact in most of the games he has played and is a promising young talent who I’m sure will play a huge amount of Test cricket.”
Shortly before the press conference started, Moeen’s county Worcestershire announced the all-rounder would take a short break from cricket following a demanding schedule in recent months.
Root said: “It is not the last time we have seen him. Mo is a fine cricketer.”
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Australia have left pace bowler James Pattinson out of their 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test against England, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood vying for recalls.
Pattinson was part of the team that won by 251 runs at Edgbaston, taking two wickets on his first Test appearance in almost three years.
Cricket Australia confirmed all players were available for selection, but, with Pattinson’s longstanding fitness problems and the next two Tests coming back to back, the decision to stand him down appears to be a case of workload management.
Regardless, they are selecting from a position of strength. Left-arm quick Starc was the top wicket-taker at the recent World Cup with 27 and Hazlewood was left out of the tournament entirely to get him fit and ready for this series.
BREAKING: Australia's XII for the Lord's Test:— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 13, 2019
Tim Paine (c/wk), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood #Ashes
The latter is understood to be winning the selection battle after tuning up with three for 34 in last week’s tour match at Worcester, but the final decision will not be revealed until the toss.
Speaking on Monday, head coach Justin Langer spoke of the good luck Australia had in having all of their pace attack ready to go.
“What is fortunate at the moment is we’ve got six fit and healthy fast bowlers,” he said.
“I’ve been coaching for about 10 years now and I can’t ever remember having that luxury, but it could change like that so we’re not getting carried away with it.
“The fact that we had Josh and Mitch on the bench in the last Test match, it doesn’t happen very often.”
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While they had to face heartbreak in the final of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, New Zealand now have a chance to go top of the ICC Test rankings for the first time in history as they get ready to square-off against Sri Lanka in a two-match series.
The No2 ranked Black Caps can secure the top ranking in the format should they beat the hosts 2-0 in the upcoming series but they will also need Windies to avert a series clean sweep by India at the same time.
If the Kiwis are able to win both upcoming Tests and top-ranked India fail to win even one of their two clashes against West Indies, then it will be Kane Williamson and his men who will ascend to the top of the ranking.
“If that happens that would be great,” New Zealand skipper Williamson was quoted as saying by AFP on the eve of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle.
“But I guess there’s a bigger picture. The thing with rankings is that they just fluctuate throughout a season. For us, we just want to be focusing on the cricket and give ourselves the best chance of success.”
With the inaugural World Test Championship getting underway earlier this month, all teams will have their eyes on making the final which takes place at Lord’s after the completion of a two-year cycle.
For Williamson, the prospect of making the Lord’s final of the Test Championship is more enticing than securing the No1 ranking in the format.
“I think it’s a welcome addition to the Test format, bringing that context into every Test match you play,” the Kiwi stated.
“No matter what team you play at any level it’s very, very competitive.
“But now there’s that added carrot where, in two years’ time, everyone’s vying for a spot in that championship final which would be a really exciting thing to be a part of.”
The first Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand gets underway at Galle on Wednesday. Meanwhile, West Indies and India will lock horns in a two-Test series which will begin on August 22 at Antigua.