Andrew Strauss, England Cricket Board (ECB) interim managing director has expressed no regrets over dropping James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the West Indies Test series. The former England captain also said that the management’s target is to help the team become a top one across formats.
England made a selection bombshell ahead of the three-Test series against the West Indies, omitting veteran pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The pair, who have 1177 Test wickets between them, were far from pleased with the axing. England’s veteran duo fared rather well during the 4-0 Ashes drubbing Down Under.
Andrew Strauss Has No Regrets Over Dropping James Anderson And Stuart Broad For West Indies Tests
Nevertheless, James Anderson and Stuart Broad were left out of the West Indies squad. James Anderson has 640 wickets in 169 Tests, while Stuart Broad picked up 537 wickets in 152 Tests for England.
However, Andrew Strauss has said that it’s not the end of the road for the legendary pair. Andrew Strauss anticipated the backlash over the veterans’ omission. However, he felt the likes of pacers Saqib Mahmood and Matt Fisher would bring fresh energy to the group.
The 100-Test veteran said: “I think the reaction was entirely predictable. You don’t do these things worried about what the reaction is; you do them because you think it’s the right thing to do. It’s great to see Matt Fisher and Saqib Mahmood as part of the England setup.
“I think we’re learning about them all the time, and they’re getting more and more comfortable in this group. And as we said right at the start, it’s forced some of our senior players to have slightly different roles.”
The former South African-born player added after a draw in the first Test in Antigua: “It’s early days, but the feedback I’m getting from the dressing room is they’re accepting the challenge of not having those senior players involved, and I thought the attitude, willingness to do hard graft, spirit and togetherness were there to see in Antigua. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but there were a lot of positives coming out of it.”
Although the first Test in Antigua ended in a draw, England’s new-ball bowlers struggled in both innings. Craig Overton and Chris Woakes picked up only three wickets in the Test, with the West Indies openers putting up 50-plus opening stands in both innings.
Andrew Strauss: England’s Ambition Is To Be The Best Team Across Formats
While Andrew Strauss added that the management aims to reset England’s red-ball cricket, he stressed the need for the team to play well across formats.
Adding that the performance in one format affects the other, the 45-year old said: “While a lot of the focus post-Ashes has been on red ball cricket and the domestic structure, our project is broader than that. Our ambition has to be for us to be the best team in all formats.”
Strauss added: “We have the ability to do that, and in order for that to happen, we have to look at the whole system. Whatever your focus on red ball cricket, it’s like a Rubik’s Cube, and it affects white ball cricket. You cannot look at them in isolation; you have to look at them together.”
The second Test between the West Indies and England starts on March 16 in Barbados. England hope to have Ollie Robinson available for the second Test against West Indies and will not be calling up extra bowling cover, despite interim head coach Paul Collingwood admitting that Mark Wood was “unlikely” to play in Barbados after suffering an elbow impingement that limited his involvement to delivering 17 overs in the drawn Antigua Test.