England name Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood in Test squad for New Zealand tour
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 11/01/18 12:17pm
Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood have been included in England's 16-man Test squad for the tour of New Zealand.
Mark Stoneman and James Vince have also been included despite poor performances in the recent Ashes defeat, as have Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali.
Gary Ballance, Tom Curran and Jake Ball have been dropped from the squad, while Ben Stokes has been included - although his involvement is subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments.
Lancashire batsman Livingstone is the only debutant in the squad, and national selector James Whitaker has backed him to make the step up.
He said: "Liam has been a player we have been impressed with for quite some time. He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena.
"We are particularly impressed with the way he bats against spin and is equally adept against the seamers."
Wood returns to the squad having missed the Ashes with injury and Whitaker said: "After a frustrating period with injuries, Mark is now back to full fitness and is looking forward to being part of our Test plans.
"He will play a significant part in our forthcoming ODI tour of Australia and we will be paying close attention to his efforts over the next few weeks."
Ballance, Curran and Ball drop out of the squad having played in just three Tests between them on the losing Ashes tour.
Whitaker said they would return to county cricket, and added: "They are talented players and I am sure their time will come again."
Ali and Broad were disappointing in Australia and there had been suggestions they could be rested. However, England have chosen to retain two of their most experienced players.
Vince and Stoneman are also retained, despite suggestions they could be dropped following their performances Down Under.
The ECB included Stokes in the squad, but added they will convene within 48 hours of receiving notice of whether Stokes is cleared or charged, regarding the incident in Bristol in September, to decide on his availability.
England arrive in New Zealand on March 9 and play two two-day warm-up matches against New Zealand A before the first Test in Auckland, starting on March 22.
The second Test takes place in Christchurch and begins on March 30.
ENGLAND TEST SQUAD
Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes (wk), Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.