England have slumped to their worst Test rating for more than a quarter of a century, dropping to No 6 in the ICC rankings after winning just one of their last 17 matches. Their current tally of 88 ranking points is their lowest since 1995 and leaves them sandwiched between Pakistan, who are now fifth on the list, and Sri Lanka. England remain second in both ODI and T20 rankings, led by New Zealand and India respectively, while Australia continue to top the Test charts.
Ben Stokes, who recently replaced Joe Root as England’s Test captain, admitted on Tuesday that he was taking over a team at a low ebb. “What we can do is say there’s only one way to go from here, which is up,” he said. “We know we’ve not played to the standard we know we can. It’s about understanding that and then saying: ‘What can we do to fix it?’ I’m understanding that things don’t just happen overnight. I can’t expect it to just click and all of a sudden we’re No 1 in a year’s time.”
Stokes has been named in the Durham squad to face Worcestershire in the County Championship on Thursday, which would be his first appearance of the English season. Elsewhere Ollie Robinson is due to play for Sussex against Middlesex after recovering from a tooth infection, and should be joined in the team by George Garton, who has not played since making his England debut in a T20 against West Indies in Barbados in January.
Olly Stone’s long-awaited comeback from a stress fracture in his back – the third such injury of the 28-year-old’s career – lasted just seven balls for Warwickshire’s second XI on Tuesday, before he pulled up with a thigh strain. Stone has only made one competitive appearance since he sustained the injury 11 months ago, when he bowled five overs for Barnt Green in their victory against Kenilworth Wardens in the Birmingham Premier League Division One last month.
Mark Wood did some light bowling in training at Durham on Tuesday and is hoping to return to international action with England’s white-ball team when they travel to the Netherlands next month.
The Essex wicketkeeper, Adam Wheater, has announced that he will retire at the end of the season. “It’s been a tough call to make, but the timing feels right and I’m pleased to be going out on my own terms,” the 32-year-old said. “Not many players get the opportunity to play for their boyhood club, so to be able to do that has been a dream, and to be able to win the things we’ve won, I couldn’t have asked for more.”