England tour of New Zealand 2018 [Preview]
England is all set to tour New Zealand for a full-fledged series in the coming month of February. The visitors will play five one-day internationals followed two-match Test series. New Zealand have been imperious at home after beating completing whitewash over West Indies and Pakistan in the one-day format.
The major change has been New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who has found good form with the bat and consistently produced good scores across all three formats. Williamson had endured a lean period with the bat last year but has found his purple patch this season. New Zealand will be hard to dislodge at home in the one-day format given the top order has been in good form.
The opening combination of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro has been impressive. Both the players play an aggressive brand of cricket and put pressure back on the bowlers. Guptill has been a bankable player for New Zealand at opening slot while Munro has risen among the ranks in the last six months with his consistent performances.
Ross Taylor, Colin De Grandhomme, and Henry Nicholls have been consistent for the home side and would be keen to do well against a strong England side. Tom Latham has been the first-choice keeper for the side and has done well in the role for New Zealand. Lockie Ferguson has been superb as the third seamer for the side in the format and shown consistency to back up the good work done by new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
Trent Boult has grown in stature in the one-day format for New Zealand. The left-arm pace bowler has shown consistency with the new-ball and made key breakthroughs for the side in this home season. Tim Southee provides an able support to Boult and does use his height to good effect. Mitchell Santner is the first-choice spinner for the side while Ish Sodhi also has done well when picked for a particular game.
On the other hand, England one-day side has been superb as they completed a 4-1 victory over Australia in the bilateral series. Jason Roy has made a comeback in the side and produced his best with the bat in the game played at Melbourne against Australia. Alex Hales has been not scoring runs with the bat after being demoted to no.3 to make way for Jonny Bairstow at the top of the innings. The good news for England is that all-rounder Ben Stokes is all set to return to the side for the series. He has appeared before the commission as ECB is cleared him to play for the national side till any further notice with the regards to Bristol brawl case.
Eoin Morgan has been superb as leader of the side and has made good tactical choices to see the side win their win bilateral ODI series against Australia. Wicket-keeper Jos Buttler is a dangerous player and has the ability to go berserk at the end of an innings. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have done a great job for England as a spin duo and kept the run-rate down in the middle overs. Mark Wood has infused a new energy into the bowling lineup that was missing a genuine quick. Liam Plunkett is set to miss the series due to injury as Craig Overton is named as a replacement in England squad.
The first one-day game of the five-match series will be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton on 25th February. The other venues for the series are Wellington, Mount Maunganui, Dunedin, and Christchurch. The conclusion of one-day series will see sides play two-match Test series. The venues finalized for Tests are Auckland and Christchurch.