Stokes named in England test squad for NZ


And he has become the first Cumbrian-born player to be called-up for a Test series since Paul Nixon was in the squad - but did not play - for the tour of Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2000/01.

England squad for New Zealand tour: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Test Match cricket is the pinnacle and something that every player works towards throughout their career.

Meanwhile, the selectors have left out Gary Ballance, Jake Ball and Tom Curran from the squad that recently lost the Ashes series 0-4 in Australia.

Livingstone's displays for Lancashire over the past two seasons, as well as his efforts for the Lions when touring Sri Lanka and against South Africa A at home, caught the eye of the selectors.

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England have only used 27 different players in total since the last World two and a half years ago.

Now, he's been dropped without firing a shot for the New Zealand series.

Eoin Morgan's unbeaten 81 helped England to a five-wicket win over a Cricket Australia XI in their limited-overs warm up match in Sydney.

Livingstone will take part in the England Lions red-ball squad only of the West Indies tour in February before joining up with the senior squad in New Zealand in March. "He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena", he added.

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The England and Wales Cricket Board have made him unavailable until a decision is made on whether Stokes will be charged over the incident, but have consistently picked him subject to a change in his circumstances.

"We are particularly impressed with the way he bats against spin and is equally adept against the seamers, " said Whitaker.

Wood spent the winter with the England Lions recovering from ankle and heel injuries rather than competing in the Ashes, but he now wants to show England what they have been missing.

The first test, starting on March 22 in Auckland, is a day-nighter. The last two games will be played in Adelaide on January 26 and Perth on January 28.

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