– England’s all-time leading test wicket takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad were the highest-profile casualties as the country’s cricket board (ECB) reacted to the drubbing in Australia with sweeping changes to the squad for the three-test tour of West Indies next month.
Fast bowlers Anderson and Broad have taken a combined 1,177 wickets in test cricket but were left out of the 16-man squad by a selection panel comprising of interim managing director Andrew Strauss, interim head coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor.
Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, Sam Billings and Dawid Malan were also dropped.
Strauss said it was time to draw a line under the 4-0 defeat by Australia and refresh the squad with some new faces, although he said it was “not the end” for Anderson and Broad.
“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,” Strauss said.
“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.”
While Anderson and Broad, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in tests with 640 dismissals, have been omitted it is England’s batting that has consistently let them down over the past 12 months.
In Australia they did not manage one total over 300 with openers Hameed and Burns averaging 10 and 12 respectively, piling pressure on skipper Root to perform.
Malan, who was recalled to the test squad last summer to fill the vacant No. 3 slot, also loses his place meaning, apart from Root, Zak Crawley is the sole survivor from top order that performed so dismally in the Ashes.
Durham opener Alex Lees will get the chance to stake his claim after being called up for the first time, while Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher also gets his first call-up.
Lees scored 625 runs in last year’s Championship campaign while Fisher took 20 wickets for Yorkshire last season.
Essex batsman Dan Lawrence will have a chance to establish himself after missing out in Australia.
With Buttler dropped after a difficult Ashes, wicketkeeper Ben Foakes also returns to the squad for the first time since playing in the fourth test in India last March.
Collingwood was named interim head coach after Chris Silverwood stepped down last week following the team’s 4-0 series defeat in the Ashes against Australia.
Director of cricket Ashley Giles also stepped down as did assistant coach Graham Thorpe.
The England squad is set to fly out on Thursday. The first test begins on March 8 in Antigua. The three-match series forms part of the ICC World Test Championship.
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.