Rob Key, the new England men’s team manager, said veteran fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad – the two best wicket takers in England’s Test history – would also be available again after being controversially left out of the recent West Indies match. tour.
Rob Key’s statement came after Ben Stokes was named captain of England’s Test cricket team on Thursday and took up the pressure roll, just a few months after returning from a long period of absence from the game to protect his sanity. .
The all-rounder was the only credible option to replace Joe Root, who resigned his post – which he had held for five years – two weeks ago, with England winning just one of his last 17 test matches.
It is the first major decision by Rob Key, the former England batsman who was recently hired in a turbulent period as general manager of England’s men’s cricket for the national team that is currently without a head coach.
Key said he was confident Stokes was ready to take the captain’s burden, despite missing most of 2021 to focus on his well-being and also recovering from two-finger surgeries. However, it could mean that Stokes plays fewer one-day and Twenty20 internationals.
“It’s just something we have to do – we have to manage that load, we have to prioritize when we think he should play. Right now that’s going to be test cricket,” Key said.
“I don’t think we need to think about this. We need to make sure he’s in a good frame of mind, his body is in good shape, and then we can plan accordingly.”
England will play Test series against New Zealand and South Africa this summer, also completing the series against India which was cut short last year with India leading 2-1 with one Test to go.
“Before it was announced that I was doing this job, I called them up and said, ‘In my opinion, you are both available for selection,’” Key said of Broad, 35, and Anderson, 39. †
“I can’t promise you that you will play, but you are just available for selection.
“Ben Stokes was very clear about the fact that he wants Jimmy and Broady to come back. It will be purely based on what the best XI is to win that first test match. Nothing more, nothing less. If they’re in that, what’s in it. if any chance they will be because they are two great bowlers then they play.”
Key said new head coaches would soon be hired to lead the men’s Test and limited-overs teams, stressing that the same person cannot handle both jobs.
“It’s just become a job that’s become almost impossible for one coach,” Key said.
“The amount of cricket we play, with all the COVID catching up, all that stuff, you’re going to have moments where you would literally jump on a plane to the other side of the world to coach a different format.”
Getting rid of COVID bubbles for teams is expected to further ease the mental strain on players and coaching staff. That should help Stokes, one of the world’s best cricketers of all sizes, as he retreats into the swing of a hectic cricket schedule.
“He cares about the people around him, he understands why people struggle, he understands why people might not feel well,” Key said.
“All those qualities, along with a very good cricket brain, make him the standout choice.”
Stokes said Root “will continue to be an important ally for me” as he takes on the captaincy.
“I want to thank Joe for all he has done for English cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport around the world,” said Stokes.
“He’s been a huge part of my development as a leader in the dressing room.”