After Ben Foakes' departure, England has called in Haseeb Hameed and Sam Billings for the Test
series against New Zealand. Foakes, who was named to the squad earlier this month, was set to
play his first Test in home conditions at Lord's on June 2, but a torn hamstring has forced him
to withdraw from the series.
The wicketkeeper-batsman sustained the injury while slipping
into the dressing room after Surrey's Country Championship 2021 match against Middlesex at the
He is expected to be ruled out of action for no less than three months after
being medically assessed and undergoing rehabilitation under the supervision of the Surrey
medical team. That also means he won't play in the five-test series against India, which begins
on August 4 at Trent Bridge.
The squad includes Kent wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings and
Nottinghamshire top-order batsman Haseeb Hameed. Hameed, who has had a strong Country 2021
season (474 at an average of 52.66), last played for England against India during their winter
tour in 2016, while Billings has yet to play in the most extended format for his
Ben Stokes, who injured his finger in the now-suspended 14th edition of the Indian
Premier League last month, and Jofra Archer, whose elbow injury resurfaced after playing for
Sussex in the County, is expected to miss the match. After completing a quarantine period
following the IPL cancellation, multi-format stars Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler,
Sam Curran, and Chris Woakes have also been rested.
In the absence of fellow keepers
Buttler and Bairstow, Foakes must have fancied a chance to add to his eight Test caps and make
his home debut. Still, this could well be the opportunity for Gloucestershire
wicketkeeper-batter James Bracey and Billings to break through.
Bracey and Sussex pacer
Ollie Robinson both impressed the County this year, earning their first call-ups. Somerset
all-rounder Craig Overton, who last played against Australia in Manchester in 2019, has been