James Anderson and Stuart Broad were given encouragement that their storied test careers with England were not over, with the interim head of English cricket urging the veteran pacemen to get themselves fired up to play in the summer series.
England’s two leading test wicket-takers of all time were the headline names omitted for the upcoming tour of the West Indies in a ruthless response to a 4-0 loss to Australia in the Ashes series Down Under. But Andrew Strauss, who is the interim director of English cricket, maintained that the 39-year-old Anderson and the 35-year-old Broad still had roles to play.
They were both very disappointed and that doesn’t surprise me, said Strauss, who played with both fast bowlers for England. They’re both very passionate about playing for England. I hope that they understand the rationale for the decision and also they understand that no one is saying this is the end of the road for either of them.
Their job right at the moment is to get themselves fired up to go for the start of the international summer in June. Asked if the absence of Anderson and Broad would give captain Joe Root more chance to exert his authority, Strauss said: This is more about us finding a bowling resource that’s capable of winning away from home and obviously you need a lot of variety in your attack to do that, that’s blatantly obvious.
It’s an opportunity to see other people out there performing in the middle. It’s the start of a new cycle and is a refresh and a reset and that dressing room will feel very different without Broad and Anderson in it, but I wouldn’t in any way want people to think Broad and Anderson aren’t thoroughly professional in everything they do in an England shirt.
With 640 wickets in 169 tests, Anderson is England’s No. 1 wicket-taker in tests and third on the all-time list behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and Australia’s Shane Warne. Broad is second on England’s list of wicket-takers and sixth in international history with 537 in 152 tests.
England plays test series against New Zealand and South Africa this summer. Strauss also said Root had asked to move up the order to No. 3.
That was his request and I think everyone agreed that was probably a healthy thing for the England team at the moment, Strauss said. Our issues have been at the top of the order so we’re going to see a new opening partnership out there with Alex Lees coming in and Joe’s stepping up to No. 3 gives a bit of space in the middle order for some of those less experienced players to show what they can do.