The Cricketer
The Cricketer The Cricketer

VINCE AND STONEMAN KEEP ENGLAND PLACES FOR NEW ZEALAND TOUR AS LIVINGSTONE GETS CALL-UP

The squad for the two-Test trip has been announced

Under-pressure England batsmen Mark Stoneman and James Vince have kept their places in the Test squad for the tour of New Zealand.

The pair each averaged less than 27 during a difficult first Ashes series but they have been given a stay of execution for the two-match trip, which begins in Auckland on March 22.

Vince, who has played 12 Tests, has a paltry overall average of 22.70 and flattered to deceive against Australia. After impressing during his first innings of the series at the Gabba, where he hit 83 before being run out by Nathan Lyon, the Hampshire man only made one further half-century.

Mark Stoneman and James Vince are in England's squad to face New Zealand

His habit of being dismissed caught behind the wicket via an edge from a loose, extravagant drive has been the subject of intense scrutiny.

Stoneman, who got to 15 on all bar two occasions Down Under but never made more than 56, has fewer potential replacements nipping at his heels but will also need runs in New Zealand to secure his berth ahead of the English summer.

The duo are joined in the travelling party by Lancashire captain Liam Livingstone, who is yet to make his Test debut.

Livingstone, who made his T20 International debut against South Africa last summer, was part of the England Lions squad which spent a period of the winter in Australia.

He averages of 48.75 in first-class cricket and has six hundreds and 10 half-centuries to his name.

“Liam has been a player that we have been impressed with for quite some time, having performed well in the county system with Lancashire and over the past couple of years with the England Lions," said national selector James Whitaker.

“He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena.

Liam Livingstone is also included in the travelling party

“During the recent Lions tour of Australia, he was a standout performer and showed a lot of maturity in his attitude and put in some strong performances. We are particularly impressed with the way he bats against spin and is equally adept against the seamers. Liam is also highly regarded at his county Lancashire and will captain the side in the Specsavers County Championship during the 2018 campaign.”

Seamer Mark Wood also features in the 16-man squad following his recent injury problems and Ben Stokes is included, though his presence depends on whether the Crown Prosecution Service choose to charge him for his part in an alleged brawl in Bristol in September. An internal investigation is also pending.

"Should the ECB Board receive formal confirmation that Stokes has either been charged or that he will face no charges, they would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability for the team at that stage," an ECB statement read.

There is no place for Tom Curran, Gary Ballance or Jake Ball, all of whom featured in the Ashes squad.

“All three players have worked hard on the recent Ashes tour,” said Whitaker.

“Unfortunately, they miss out on selection for New Zealand. All three will return to county cricket and will be looking to start the season well with a view to staking their claim to get back into selection reckoning. They are talented players and I am sure their time will come again.”

England squad: Root, Moeen Ali, Anderson, Bairstow, Broad, Cook, Crane, Foakes, Livingstone, Malan, Overton, Stokes, Stoneman, Vince, Woakes, Wood

Fixtures: 1st Test, Auckland - March 22-26; 2nd Test, Christchurch - March 30-April 3.

MORE FROM THE CRICKETER: Bayliss urges Root not to take IPL deal