By Harry Siddall
International Cricketer Jamie Anderson / Creative Commons
James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been left out of England’s 16-man squad to tour the West Indies next month, with the legendary pair two of eight casualties from a 4-0 Ashes defeat.
In their place, Durham’s Alex Lees and Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher have received their first international call-ups, while Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson, who are also uncapped, will join the team for the three-test series.
Following the sackings of Chris Silverwood, Ashley Giles and Graham Thorpe, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has formed a new interim selection panel.
Former England captain Andrew Strauss has joined Paul Collingwood and James Taylor in making some key decisions on personnel, with the mood around the Test team at an all-time low, following an Ashes drubbing against Australia.
The decision to omit England’s leading wicker taker, who is still proving his worth to the team at 39 years of age, is a controversial one. Between him and Broad are more than 150 Tests, with both cricketers taking more than 1100 wickets.
However, Strauss has stressed that their Test careers are far from over and the management are simply using this tour as a chance to blood in some younger talent.
Strauss said: “No-one is saying that Broad and Anderson won’t feature this summer and beyond but my job, I think, as director of cricket, is to give whoever takes over, the new director of cricket and coach, options from which to pick. I think [with] this tour we can learn more about the options we do have.”
Alongside these, Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and Dom Bess are the other names dropped from the squad that travelled down under this summer.
The first test, which begins in Antigua on March 8, could still include Chris Woakes and Ollie Pope, who are surprising inclusions from the summer and are likely being given one more chance to prove their worth.
In full, England’s squad is: Joe Root (C), Jonathan Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fisher, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Alex Lees, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes.