Sam Billings and Haseeb Hameed: Both the batsmen have been included as a cover for the injured wicket-keeper batsman.
England wicket-keeper batsman Ben Foakes’ wait of playing a home Test doesn’t seem to come to an end after he has been ruled out of the upcoming two-match series against New Zealand beginning from June 2.
Foakes, 28, has played eight overseas matches in his two-and-a-half year long Test career. Part of England’s 15-member squad for New Zealand Tests in the absence of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, Foakes was certain of playing his first Test in England but a freak dressing room incident has spoken of the otherwise.
Having injured his hamstring after slipping in socks while walking in the dressing room, Foakes is expected to be out of action for “at least three months”.
Foakes, who was representing Surrey in County Championship 2021, will not just miss a large part of the county season but might be in line to miss a five-match Test series against India as well.
England include Sam Billings and Haseeb Hameed for New Zealand Tests
England men’s head coach Chris Silverwood, who is also the head of the selection committee now, has handed a maiden call-up to Sam Billings and handed a national comeback to Haseeb Hameed as a cover for Foakes.
Although he didn’t get a match at Delhi Capitals in the defunct Indian Premier League 2021, Billings has become the first IPL 2021 player to get selected in England’s Test squad for this series. Leading Kent in their most recent county match against Glamorgan in Canterbury, Billings had scored 11 (18) in the first innings.
Haseeb, on the other hand, is coming on the back of scoring 474 runs in 10 innings this season at an average of 52.66 and comprising of two centuries and as many half-centuries for Nottinghamshire this season. The 24-year old batsman, who had played three away Tests against India in 2016, would be hoping for an opportunity at the top of the order after half-a-decade.
Sending big wishes to Ben Foakes who is forced out of the England squad due to a hamstring injury 😪
Congrats to Haseeb Hameed and Sam Billings who have been called up 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/oo1xxAVo9a
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) May 26, 2021
As far as Foakes’ immediate replacement in the Playing XI is concerned, uncapped wicket-keeper batsman James Bracey appears set to make his Test debut at the Lord’s. The in-form Gloucestershire player has already scored a century and four half-centuries in 11 county innings so far.