Jamie Overton will make his England debut in the Headingley Test against New Zealand after ousting twin brother Craig as a replacement for the injured James Anderson.
Record-breaking wicket-taker Anderson, 39, was withdrawn after suffering ankle pain after back-to-back wins at Lord’s and Trent Bridge, the only change in the home XI to conclude the series finale.
Jamie Overton had to wait his turn to follow his identical sibling into full international cricket, with Craig winning eight Test matches and four in one-day internationals, but he has finally prevailed after earning his first call-up to the United Nations this week squad had received .
The Surrey Quick is the younger twin by three minutes but has a different style to Craig’s reliable line and length, preferring a more explosive, speed-oriented method that could help England fill the void left by long-term absentee Mark Wood. Jofra Archer and Olly Stone.
Captain Ben Stokes named the team during his pre-game media round, ending concerns about his own fitness. The all-rounder missed training on Tuesday due to illness but two negative Covid tests followed by a full net session were enough to allay any concerns about his attendance.
“Obviously Jimmy and Jamie are completely different bowlers but it’s a great opportunity for us to look at an England team with someone who can bowl it fast,” he said of the 6ft 5in newcomer, who is in the county with 90 miles per hour was measured racetrack this season.
“We don’t have Stoney, Woody or Jofra to do that for us at the moment and we all know how important pace can be on a team, especially when the wicket is flat and you’re trying to break a partnership.
“It’s always great to have someone in your pocket who can bowl fast. If you can bowl 90mph, that’s fast. I look forward to seeing him operate this week.
“Jamie deserves to represent England this week, he’s in great form too so there’s no better time for him to show the world what he’s got.”
England have already won the series, having started the Stokes-Brendon McCullum era with successful chases. It’s been more than a decade since they’ve had a clean win in a home streak of three or more games, but the skipper made it clear he remains more interested in how his team is doing business.
So far the new regime has been solid on its promise of bold, exciting cricket and anyone expecting a swing towards pragmatism is looking in the wrong place.
“We want to go home with a 3-0 win, that would be great, but I told the lads before training that the result will take care of itself this week,” said Stokes.
“Let’s get on with what we’ve been doing for the past two weeks and try to believe that this week we’re in the entertainment business and not the sports business.
“There’s a reason 20,000 people joined us on day five at Trent Bridge, so I challenged the team to be even more fearless, positive and aggressive than last week.”
There’s no better assist than the remarkable innings Stokes himself played on this ground in 2019, winning an Ashes Test with a century, and a last-wicket stand with Jack Leach that already has its place in folklore.
This game is his first England appearance in Yorkshire since that day, with the restricted Covid schedule of 2019 and his own break from last summer’s game keeping him away until now.
He probably couldn’t get the events of that August day out of his head, but there was a handy reminder when he reported to the grid on Wednesday morning.
“They actually had the big screen highlights there, which was very nice to look back on,” Stokes said with a smile.
“It’s always a great place to play here as an English cricketer.”