James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been dropped for England’s trip to the West Indies as the fallout from a shambolic Ashes tour continues but Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s interim director of cricket, has said the decision “does not mean the end for them as England players”.
The 4-0 humbling in Australia has already seen Ashley Giles, Chris Silverwood and Graham Thorpe lose their jobs as part of the support staff and now England’s two leading wicket-takers in Test cricket have been dumped by a selection panel comprising Strauss, Paul Collingwood, head coach for the Caribbean tour, and James Taylor, a selector.
Given England’s woes in Australia owed much to the failures of their batting, it is a significant call. Anderson averaged 23 in his three Test matches in the Ashes – and averages 22 since the start of 2020 – while Broad averaged 26 from three games and took a five-wicket haul in the fourth Test. Neither were used smartly in Australia. Both were left out of the opening Test at the Gabba, in conditions that suited them, and Broad missed out at the MCG on a surface tailor made for his bowling.
It remains to be seen whether this is the end for Anderson and Broad in England colours. In a press release, Strauss, who will speak to the media at Lord’s on Wednesday (January 9), said it would be up to the permanent managing director and head coach to decide on the long-term futures of the experienced duo. “In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players,” the statement read.
“We feel that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously. No one doubts the quality and experience that James and Stuart bring to the England set-up. It will be up to the new managing director and permanent head coach to decide on whether they will be involved this summer and beyond.
“This selection of this squad is the start of a process and a journey to get England Test cricket back to where it needs to be, and the hard work starts now.”
There are six other casualties from the Ashes tour. There is no place in the 16-man squad for Dawid Malan, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler or Haseeb Hameed. There are first call-ups for Durham opening batter Alex Lees and Yorkshire fast-bowler Matthew Fisher while the uncapped Lancashire duo of Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson are also included. Ben Foakes has been recalled and will be the first choice wicket-keeper.
Of those who were part of the squad in Australia, Joe Root and Ben Stokes will lead the squad in the Caribbean while young batters Zak Crawley, who impressed with a half-century at the MCG, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence retain their places alongside the more experienced Jonny Bairstow. Chris Woakes and Craig Overton are the fast-bowling all-rounders while Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood complete the bowling stocks. Jack Leach partners Parkinson as the other spinner in the party.
Squad:Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fischer, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood