England have named uncapped pair Adam Lyth and Mark Wood in their squad of 12 for next week’s first Investec Test against New Zealand at Lord’s.
The first squad of this Ashes summer, and of the Andrew Strauss era since the former captain took over as the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new director, consists entirely of players who toured West Indies for much of the past month.
Yorkshire opener Lyth and Durham fast bowler Wood did not feature there in any of the three Tests of a drawn series, but both could instead make a debut at HQ.
Lyth, in particular following the retirement of Jonathan Trott, can be inked in as captain Alastair Cook’s opening partner against the Kiwis.
An ECB press release spelled that out on Thursday afternoon.
It read: “Yorkshire batsman Adam Lyth is set to make his debut next week when he opens the batting alongside England captain Alastair Cook.
“Durham pace bowler Mark Wood, who made his one-day international debut against Ireland last week, is the only other player uncapped at Test level included in the squad.”
After a meeting with Strauss on Thursday morning, national selector James Whitaker added: “Adam Lyth has waited patiently for an opportunity with England, having performed consistently for Yorkshire and England Lions in the last year.
“He fully deserves his chance to cement a place in the side at the top of the order.”
Wood may have to wait a little longer, but has the chance to vie for the third seamer’s spot at HQ with incumbent Chris Jordan.
Whitaker added: “Mark Wood has also impressed, and his pace and style of bowling ensure the coach and captain have options in the bowling attack.”
Time is short for England to gather winning momentum against the Kiwis before their Ashes rematch in July with a team who trounced them 5-0 in 2013/14.
But Whitaker said: “There were some positive signs during the recent Test tour, and it is key that this group of players learns from the instances when the opposition was put under pressure and we were in a position to press for victory but couldn’t quite manage it.
“New Zealand are a very talented side, and I expect a very competitive series between the two teams