'English cricket must do without Anderson' - Key

Rob Key says English cricket will "have to do without Jimmy Anderson" after the fast bowler calls time on his legendary career against West Indies at Lord's in July.

Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, is retiring from Test cricket following talks with managing director Key, coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

"We said 'we think it’s time for us to move on, that we have to start looking towards the future'," Key told the Test Match Special County Cricket podcast.

"This is the right decision and this is the right time. Hopefully he gets a fantastic end at Lord's."

Anderson announced on Saturday that the first Test against West Indies on 10 July will be his last after reports of discussions with the England management emerged on Friday.

Key confirmed the leadership trio were in agreement about the decision to end Anderson's career and met the 41-year-old in a hotel in Manchester in April after McCullum travelled to the UK from his home in New Zealand.

"When we made the decision and thought we needed to meet Jimmy to discuss the future, Brendon came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to fly over to England," said Key.

"We had a conversation for about an hour and a half, which Baz led. I don’t think Jimmy was expecting it, but I don’t think it was completely unexpected.

"We felt it was right that Jimmy and the public had the opportunity to say goodbye. We didn’t impress upon him that he needed to make the decision there and then. Not so long ago he decided the Lord’s game would be his last."

Former Kent batter Key, 45, was part of the England team when Anderson made his Test debut as a 20-year-old at Lord's against Zimbabwe in 2003.

"He barely said anything," said Key. "When the clouds came over, he was unplayable."

Anderson has gone on to amass 700 wickets, more than any other pace bowler in Test cricket, and sits third on the all-time list of wicket-takers, behind only Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne.

After Stuart Broad retired at the end of last summer, England are losing their two most successful Test bowlers in back-to-back home matches.

Key said England will still have pace-bowling experience through the likes of Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, but that younger bowlers now have the chance to hone their craft.

"People need the opportunity to learn to bowl with the new ball, to go through a day’s worth of Test cricket and back it up the next day," he said. "Now is the time for people to start learning that."

Key also said bowlers outside England's centrally contracted list can force their way into the reckoning.

He said it is "great" to see Olly Stone back to fitness and called his Nottinghamshire team-mate Dillon Pennington "excellent". Key described Essex's Sam Cook as "so skilful".

Key discussed the future of Ollie Robinson, who possesses a one-year central contract, but had a disappointing tour of India.

Robinson struggled with a back injury in the only Test of the five he played, continuing a long history of fitness problems.

"We have been pretty clear with Ollie. When he is at his best he is a very good bowler," said Key. "When he's not, down at 78 or 79mph, he goes back into the pack.

"Generally he is someone who bowls better the more he plays, but we don't always have that in international cricket. He has got to find ways to find rhythm quicker."

Robinson's Sussex team-mate Jofra Archer has been named in England's squad for the T20 World Cup after more than a year out of international cricket with a recurrence of an elbow injury.

Archer could warm up for the T20 series against Pakistan by bowling a spell on one of the final two days of Sussex 2nd XI's game away to Kent at Beckenham, starting on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old has been continuing his rehabilitation by playing club cricket in his native Barbados.

"He keeps sending me the YouTube clips of his batting, because I think he fancies himself up the order," said Key.

"Jofra needs to build up his robustness, so his body can do what is required to be a fast bowler. Hopefully next year he can play some red-ball cricket."