Sibley and Banton could be drafted in for England tour of New Zealand
National selector Ed Smith will name the Test and Twenty20 squads on Monday.
Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley and Somerset firecracker Tom Banton may be drafted in as England national selector Ed Smith names the Test and Twenty20 squads for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.
Sibley furthered his case for a spot in the Test side by taking his tally in the Specsavers County Championship to 1,324 runs at an average of 69.68 with knocks of 215 not out and 109 against Nottinghamshire earlier this week.
No other batsmen in Division One has passed 1,000 runs in 2019, while the 3,024 balls Sibley has faced indicates a disciplined approach at the crease, an attribute England were criticised for neglecting in the Ashes.
If the 24-year-old is selected on Monday afternoon for the two-Test series against the Black Caps that follows five Twenty20 internationals in November in England’s first assignment since Trevor Bayliss’ departure as head coach, he could open alongside Rory Burns.
That would see Joe Denly drop down to three and allow Joe Root to revert back to his preferred position of four, with the England captain struggling when coming in at first drop in the 2-2 Ashes draw.
After Australia’s retention of the urn, England director of cricket Ashley Giles admitted there will be a redressing of the balance between the Test and limited-overs teams, following a four-year cycle in which their triumphant World Cup campaign was prioritised to the detriment of the red-ball side.
Ollie Pope has been tipped for a recall in the middle order as England’s revamp gets under way in earnest for fixtures in Mount Maunganui and Hamilton that carry no weighting in the World Test Championship.
For that reason, it seems unlikely England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson will be risked as the Lancashire seamer continues his recovery from a calf complaint that sidelined him for most of England’s Test summer schedule.
Injuries to Mark Wood and Olly Stone would appear to leave the pace pair considerable doubts, which might open the door for Somerset seamer Craig Overton while Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood has been talked about as a bolter.
Speculation is mounting over Jonny Bairstow’s role in the side, with England said to be considering using the Yorkshireman as a specialist batsman and asking either Jos Buttler or Ben Foakes to take over wicketkeeper duties.
Bairstow and Buttler, as well as Root, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes were prominent in the World Cup and Ashes double header in an unrelenting summer schedule.
A couple of those established stars may be rested for the five T20s across 10 days, starting from November 1, when one or two unfamiliar names could be included, with Banton top of the list.
Likened to Kevin Pietersen, Banton contributed in excess of 400 runs in both domestic limited-overs competitions, thumping 69 in Somerset’s Royal London One-Day Cup final victory over Hampshire.
Eoin Morgan will be at the helm after reaffirming his commitment to the limited-overs sides ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup, with Jason Roy and Sam Billings also set to be included.
Having been handed a white-ball central contract on Friday, Denly is expected to retain his place from the side that defeated Pakistan in Cardiff in May – England’s last engagement in the sprint format.
James Vince and Ben Duckett opened the batting in the Welsh capital four months ago and are not likely to be too far from England’s thoughts, alongside seamers Chris Jordan and Tom Curran.
Worcestershire seamer Pat Brown’s blend of knuckle balls and clever use of slower deliveries in the Vitality Blast have once again seen him touted for England selection.
Moeen Ali is available for the series after announcing he is to take an indefinite break from Test cricket but fellow spinner Adil Rashid’s status is unclear after a shoulder injury.
Batsman Alex Hales and seamers Liam Plunkett and David Willey lost their white-ball central contracts, which seems to suggest they will not be travelling to New Zealand.