Jamie Overton to make England debut against New Zealand

Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

LONDON: Jamie Overton will make his England debut in the Headingley Test against New Zealand after edging out twin brother Craig as a replacement for the injured James Anderson.

Record wicket-taker Anderson, 39, has been withdrawn after experiencing pain in his ankle following back-to-back appearances at Lord’s and Trent Bridge, the only change to the home XI.

Jamie Overton has had to wait his turn to follow his identical sibling into full international cricket, with Craig winning eight Test caps and four in one-day internationals, but he has finally edged ahead after earning his maiden call-up to the squad this week.

The Surrey quick is the younger twin by a matter of three minutes but boasts a different style to Craig’s reliable line and length, favouring a more explosive, speed-orientated method that could help England fill the void left by long-term absentees Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Olly Stone.

Captain Ben Stokes named the team during his pre-match media round, ending concerns over his own fitness.

The all-rounder missed training due to illness on Tuesday, but a pair of negative Covid tests, followed by a full net session was enough to dispel any concerns over his participation.

“Unfortunately Jimmy’s not pulled up as well as we would have liked him to, so Jamie Overton’s going to make his debut this week,” Stokes told Sky Sports.

“It’s unfortunate for Jimmy, but we’ve got a massive Test against India coming up as well. I’m not too sure how serious it is to be honest. He’s just got a bit of a puffy ankle. Jamie’s been very impressive in the way that he’s bowled, we always want a point of difference in our side, bowling with serious pace and changing games as well.

“He fills a different role from Jimmy, but to have someone in your back pocket who can bowl 90 miles an hour is big for us.

“That’s the only change this week. As tempting as it was to get both twins out there playing for England, Jamie’s the only change.”

England have already won the series after impressive victories in the opening two matches.

But new captain Stokes has told his players to go for the jugular in Leeds this week.

England blasted their way to victory in the second Test in Nottingham thanks to a virtuoso last day’s batting, Jonny Bairstow hitting 136 and Stokes an unbeaten 75 as the hosts chased down their target of 299.

And now Stokes has told his England players to get back out there and put on a show for the Headingley crowd.

“I’ve said to the players this week, let’s try and think like we’re in the entertainment business rather than the sporting business,” said Stokes.

“There’s a reason why 20,000 people came out to watch us at Trent Bridge last week. So I set a challenge to the team to be even more fearless, positive and aggressive than last week.”