The early season series against New Zealand will be nothing less than titanic for a multitude of reasons. Although not one of the top-ranked glamour teams, the Kiwis will be very, very competitive over the next few months. They are a solid bunch of professional cricketers incorporating a squad of blowers who should be ideally suited to the low summer conditions.
In Stephen Fleming they have one of the best captains in world cricket and although they will miss Shane Bond from their attack, they still have a very well-balanced side. Our lads should be full of confidence after a fantastic time in the West Indies and should be raring to go after a little rest. It was good to see Graham Thorpe, Mark Butcher, Nasser Hussain and Geraint Jones all making good scores while skipper Michael Vaughan, opening partner Marcus Trescothick and all-rounder Freddie Flintoff will have benefited from time at home. The only debate for the selectors will be whether to recall James Anderson in place of Simon Jones. The Lancashire seamer claimed his first 10-wicket haul and has recaptured the extra yard of pace and no doubt the selectors will remember that the last time he played at Lordís for England he finished man of the match. Lordís may not be suited to the out-and-out pace that Jones possesses, but having somebody his speed does increase options so itís not going to be an easy decision. Whichever way the selectors go, one thing is for certain. If the weather holds and both sets of players play to potential, we will be in for another thrilling series.