Matt Potts set for England debut alongside James Anderson and Stuart Broad in first New Zealand Test

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England are set to hand the uncapped Durham seamer Matt Potts a Test debut alongside the recalled legends James Anderson and Stuart Broad at Lord’s on Thursday.

England are looking to put right a dismal run of one win in 17 Tests in a new era under the guidance of coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes. Their first opponents are New Zealand, where both men were born.

Barring a late change of heart of injury concerns, Potts is in line for a debut at a ground he has never played a first-class match, with Craig Overton expected to miss out among the bowlers.

Potts, 23, is the leading wicket-taker in this season’s County Championship and has emerged from leftfield as England experience an injury crisis that robs them of eight seam bowlers including Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

Anderson and Broad are back after being dropped for the recent defeat in the West Indies, with Stokes and spinner Jack Leach making up the bowling attack.

Potts would join a strong lineage of Durham and England fast bowlers, including Steve Harmison, Graham Onions, Liam Plunkett and Wood, not to mention captain Stokes, who has watched him at close quarters this season.

Potts, however, sat out the county’s recent fixture against Middlesex at Lord’s, having played six matches in six weeks to earn selection.

The decision to rest was sensible – he has averaged 24 overs per innings this season – but has robbed him of valuable experience. His only appearance on the ground was for Northern Superchargers in last year’s Hundred, when he bowled his allocation of 20 deliveries.

“I have had a couple of spells out in the middle, to get used to the slope, get my head around what lengths and what areas and hopefully translate that into the game,” said Potts yesterday.

Somerset quick Overton, who has also had a fine start to the season, is set to miss out. He played two Tests on the tour of the Caribbean in March (and eight overall) and is considered a safe pair of hands, and the strongest batter among the bowling group.

However, the notion of selecting a bowler partly because they are a slightly better batter is not really in keeping with the brave new world England are looking to enter under Stokes and McCullum.

England are yet to appoint a vice-captain for Stokes, and it is unclear how on-field decisions, including the Decision Review System, will work if he has to leave the field for any reason.

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