England have dropped a bombshell on the cricket world after James Anderson and Stuart Broad were left out their squad to tour the West Indies next month.
England appear to be embarking on a wholesale change following their humiliating 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Australia in the Ashes.
Veteran talismans Anderson and Broad were among eight players dropped from the Ashes debacle in their new squad for the West Indies tour.
Also left out were opening batters Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, No.3 David Malan, spinner Dom Bess, wicketkeeper-batsmen Jos Buttler and Sam Billings.
Of those players, Buttler has been nursing a broken finger suffered in Australia, while Billings was his replacement.
Recalled to the side is wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, while four uncapped players were included - opening batsman Alex Lees, seam bowlers Saq Mahmood and Matthew Fisher, and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson.
Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes survived despite performing poorly in the Ashes, as have Dan Lawrence and Craig Overton who toured Australia but did not play a Test.
"With the start of a new cycle, it has allowed the selection panel to refresh the Test squad with a particular focus on competing away from home," said Andrew Strauss, who led the selection panel after the axing of coach Chris Silverwood.
"We felt that it was time to draw a line after the Ashes defeat, look forward and give some impetus with an influx of new players.
"In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players. 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."
Cricket fans and commentators were left in disbelief that England's all-time leading wicket-takers were dropped.
Leaving out Broad and Anderson at various times on the Ashes tour were significant errors. Now they have both been omitted from a whole tour.
It will be interesting to know if they were both 100 per cent keen to go to the Caribbean.
— John Etheridge (@JohnSunCricket) February 8, 2022
If the England selectors could convince everyone that Anderson and Broad don’t make our best bowling group, then fair enough. Problem is… They can’t!
— Fabian Cowdrey (@fkcowdrey) February 8, 2022
Either they're binning Broad and Anderson when they're still incredible bowlers, which isn't really acceptable, or they're treating the West Indies tour as not-a-real-tour, which isn't really acceptable.
— Alex from King Cricket (@TheKingsTweets) February 8, 2022
Since 2019 Anderson averages 23 in overseas tests & Broad averages 27.
I'm fed up of hearing England are rotating or planning for the future. We need to get back to picking our best players to win the test infront of us - not one 18 months or so down the line. https://t.co/TSFp7ildCi
— Adam Sutherland (@ADSutherland_) February 8, 2022
Leaving out Broad and Anderson for the West Indies tour is a huge, huge call. The main reason England lost the Ashes is because their batting was hopeless. To respond by dropping two of their best bowlers is…interesting.
— Rob Johnston (@RobJ_Cricket) February 8, 2022
Not sure. Hard to say with Anderson. But he won’t want to stay a year too long. Maybe he retires this summer and Broad retires the summer after.
— Ben (@LongyWTID) February 8, 2022
I can’t agree with leaving both out. However, it will give an incoming coach an idea of what’s available, whoever it is already knows plenty on those 2. Whoever goes should take it as an opportunity to show that England have a future beyond Anderson and Broad.
— Stu DW (@StuWatts73) February 8, 2022
England management lost their head. instead of sacking Root from captaincy and making Anderson instead,they dropped him. Wat a joke this management has been. Can't disregard a player of his stature. Simply disrespectful. I was an English supporter,not anymore. Mockery of players
— Hemant Negi (@HemantNegi007) February 8, 2022
Bold or stupid leaving them out??
— Jason (@jsutch86) February 8, 2022
James Anderson and Stuart Broad on the outer
Anderson made his debut in 2003, while Broad debuted in 2007. Both have indicated they wanted to continue playing Test cricket.
The pair have taken 1177 Test wickets between them - 640 for the 39-year-old Anderson and 537 for 35-year-old Broad.
In the Ashes Anderson topped the bowling averages with eight wickets at 23.37, while Broad came third with 13 wickets at 26.30.
Both would have done better were it not for England's habit of dropping catches.
Last week England sacked managing director Ashley Giles, head coach Silverwood, who was solely responsible for selection, and assistant coach Graham Thorpe.
An interim selection panel comprising Strauss, Paul Collingwood (who will coach the team in the Caribbean) and head scout James Taylor have chosen the West Indies party.
It will be the first time an England touring party has included neither player since the West Indies tour of 2004, which is also the only time England's have won in the Caribbean since 1967-68.
The first Test is in Antigua March 8-12, with subsequent Tests in Barbados and Grenada.
Joe Root (captain), Jonathan Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fisher, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
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