England’s newly-appointed captain, Ben Stokes, has stated that he is eager to get pace-bowling stalwarts Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad back in the Test squad for the three-match series against New Zealand, which begins on June 2 at Lord’s.
The two ageing warhorses were strangely left out of England’s three-Test tour of the Caribbean earlier this year, with selectors instead opting to give more opportunities to the next generation of seam bowlers. England, led by Joe Root at the time, went on to lose the series 0-1.
Root stepped down in the aftermath of the series loss, even though many questions about the team’s future remained unanswered.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has since confirmed Rob Key as their new men’s team managing director and appointed Ben Stokes as Test captain, with the short-term future of their two leading wicket-takers now looking brighter ahead of a busy summer schedule that includes a Test against India.
In his first interview as skipper, Ben Stokes stated that he is eager to restore England’s winning culture, and that he intends to keep both seamers in the side for this summer’s engagements.
“I want to win games of cricket for England,” Stokes told BBC Sport. “The best way to do that is picking your best XI and in my opinion if Stuart Broad and James Anderson are fit they are available for selection.”
Stokes also ruled out Root as a candidate for the England Test team’s vice-captaincy, stating that he would prefer the 31-year-old prolific run-getter to focus on his batting. Root has 25 Test centuries to his name and is currently ranked fourth in the ICC Men’s Test Batting Rankings.
When asked who else would be included in England’s squad for the first Test of the summer against New Zealand, Stokes said he wants’selfless’ players who can win games for England.
“I want selfless cricketers who make decisions based on winning the game of cricket for England. At the end of the day the most important thing is winning. I want to be part of a team that has that real mentality, that doesn’t take a backwards step.”
(Inputs from IANS)