New Zealand’s Tim Southee braced for tough England tour but not worried about workload

Seamer Tim Southee says New Zealand are braced for a ‘very tough’ two-Test series against England despite the hosts naming a new-look squad.

England will be without injured duo Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer for the series – which begins on Sky Sports Cricket on June 2 – as well as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran who are rested following their endeavours in the Indian Premier League.

Their absence has created room for the selection of uncapped pair Ollie Robinson and James Bracey in a 15-man squad, but Southee says the Black Caps recognise England’s strength-in-depth.

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“England are very tough in their own conditions,” said Southee. “They obviously perform pretty well in these conditions so it’s going to be a tough tour.

“They’ve got a few new guys who are probably going to be very, very excited at the opportunity to play for England and try and I guess try to stamp their mark on international cricket.

“They’ve got a massive summer with India coming later in the year so there will be guys trying to force their way into the Test side.

“There are a few guys who have been rested so I’m sure, as it always is, when New Zealand plays England, it’s usually a pretty exciting, pretty close Test series and I imagine this one will be no different.”

Southee is embarking on his fourth tour of England having won his second Test cap against England at Lord’s in 2008 although this one has a different look, with the World Test Championship against India beginning at the Home of Cricket on Friday June 18.

Although that means the Black Caps will contest three Tests in as many weeks, Southee insists the workload is manageable and the priority is for the players to get up to speed – a process that begins in earnest next week with a three-day inter-squad game at the Ageas Bowl.

“It’s exciting to play three Test matches in a short space of time; it’s something that we don’t get to do too often,” the 32-year-old said.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into some Test cricket. We’ve come off a bit of a break, which has been nice, and we’ve been able to get some conditioning into our bodies, the guys that have come from the IPL have obviously been playing some cricket.

“So the guys are refreshed in some sort of way, and using the next couple of weeks to get ourselves prepared and ready to play three Test matches.

“They are in quick succession but we have had a chance to prepare physically leading into this with some strength and conditioning stuff. Now, it’s just getting our loads to a point over the coming weeks that we can rock into those three Test matches.”

Watch the first Test between England and New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket on Wednesday June 2.

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