New Zealand's Taylor aims to make most of insight into Broad's methods

By: AFP      Published: 08:30 PM, 1 Jun, 2021
New Zealand's Taylor aims to make most of insight into Broad's methods

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor hopes the experience of playing county cricket alongside Stuart Broad will work to his advantage during the Blackcaps' two-Test series against England.

Nottinghamshire paceman Broad's 10 dismissals of Taylor in 16 matches are the most by any bowler against the veteran right-hander.

England's rotation policy means there are no guarantees that either Broad or longstanding new-ball partner James Anderson, the hosts' two most successful Test bowlers, will feature in the series opener at Lord's starting on Wednesday.

But the 37-year-old Taylor is looking to make the most of a 2018 English season spent playing alongside Broad for Nottinghamshire.

"I had the fortune to play with him at Notts and saw the way he went about things, I heard him talking to bowlers and I asked him a few questions," Taylor told reporters ahead of what is set to be his 106th Test.

"I wish I had that knowledge up my sleeve before a few more of those series.

"He has obviously got me out a few times, as most bowlers have, but he's a very good bowler along with Jimmy Anderson and the rest of them, with the Duke (ball) in hand they're world-class bowlers in any conditions."

Taylor, confident a calf injury he suffered last month won't prove to be a lingering problem, added: "There's been a bit of talk about rest and rotation. We'll see who's playing on Wednesday morning."

Selection intrigue surrounds England-New Zealand opener

England and New Zealand head into Wednesday's first Test at Lord's with both sides face some potentially awkward selection decisions.

The hosts, in a match that marks the return of spectators to international cricket in England after their home games were played behind closed doors last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, will field an attack missing injured World Cup winners Ben Stokes (finger) and Jofra Archer (elbow).

England, amid the strains of 'bubble' cricket and a congested schedule that continues after the two New Zealand Tests with a five-match series at home to India and an Ashes tour of Australia later this year, have been reluctant recently to deploy James Anderson and Stuart Broad, their most successful all-time Test bowlers, in the same XI.

They've also rested several players following their stints in the Indian Premier League, including wicketkeepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow.

Their absence, together with the freak torn hamstring suffered by Ben Foakes, England's keeper for most of their 3-1 series loss in India this year, when he slipped on the Surrey dressing room floor, have paved the way for Gloucestershire's James Bracey to make a Test debut.

Can't be ignored

The 24-year-old Bracey, while acknowledging he was the beneficiary of Foakes' "freak accident", said: "I'm really excited about the possibility of playing two of the world's best teams this summer and obviously an Ashes tour next winter is another goal as well.

"Hopefully I'll be in a position where I can't be ignored."

England captain Joe Root was hit on the right hand batting in the nets on Monday by a throw-down from coach Chris Silverwood, now in charge of picking the team after England ditched national selector Ed Smith.

But Root, following treatment, told reporters he was "all right" and England expect him to be fit.

Both Broad and Anderson, one shy of equalling the England record of 161 Test appearances held by retired former captain Alastair Cook, have said they want to resume their partnership.

And for all England's pace options, including the uncapped Ollie Robinson and express quick Mark Wood, New Zealand coach Gary Stead looked no further than the veteran duo of Anderson and Broad, who have more than 1,000 Test wickets between them.

"When you've got an opening bowling attack that's got over 1,000 Test wickets between them that doesn't look like there's anything light there," Stead said.

New Zealand expect Trent Boult to miss the two-match series against England in the hope the left-arm seamer -- who only arrives in the UK on Friday after resting up following the IPL -- will be fresh for this month's inaugural World Test Championship final against India at Southampton.

New Zealand -- who've won their last six Tests, all at home -- can be sure about the majority of an XI led by outstanding batsman Kane Williamson.

But they must decide whether Devon Conway, Tom Blundell or Will Young, in good form for English county side Durham, opens alongside Tom Latham in New Zealand's first match at Lord's since an agonising Super Over loss to England in the 2019 World Cup final.

Meanwhile the fit-again Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell are vying for the all-rounder role, with specialist spinner Mitchell Santner and seamer Matt Henry looking to complete the bowling attack.

Stead gave little away, saying: "We've been pretty consistent around the way that we select our Test teams, and I don't think that's going to change too much at this stage". 

Stead, looking to guide New Zealand to just their second Test-match win at Lord's, added: "The pitch will ultimately I think determine which way we go."

Both teams will have some 'inside knowledge to call upon, given former New Zealand international Jeetan Patel is England's spin-bowling coach and Phil Neale, England's operations manager for 21 years until retiring in October, now the team liaison officer for the Blackcaps.

Neale said his temporary role would allow him to say 'goodbye' properly to the England players, adding: "I'm sure they'll be pulling my leg about working for the opposition -- but if anybody says anything I'll stand next to Jeetan Patel!"