Andrew Strauss has urged England record wicket takers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad to get “fired up” for the summer and re-iterated that their international careers are not at an end.
Anderson, Broad and former vice-captain Jos Buttler have all been dropped from next month’s Test tour of the West Indies as the post-Ashes cull took a dramatic turn.
While Buttler’s form made him a prime candidate, the decision to leave out Anderson and Broad came as a surprise at Tuesday’s squad announcement.
England and Wales Cricket Board interim managing director Strauss informed the veteran bowlers of the decision and told Sky Sports News: “They were both very disappointed and that doesn’t surprise me.
“They’re both very passionate about playing for England. I hope that they understand the rationale for the decision and also they understand that no-one is saying this is the end of the road for either of them.
“Their job right at the moment is to get themselves fired up to go for the start of the international summer in June.”
Asked if the absence of Anderson and Broad would give captain Joe Root more chance to exert his authority, Strauss added: “This is more about us finding a bowling resource that’s capable of winning away from home.
“And you need a lot of variety in your attack to do that, that’s blatantly obvious.
“It’s an opportunity to see other people out there performing in the middle.
“It’s the start of a new cycle and is a refresh and a reset and that dressing room will feel very different without Broad and Anderson in it, but I wouldn’t in any way want people to think Broad and Anderson aren’t thoroughly professional in everything they do in an England shirt.
“That’s why they’ve been as successful as they have been in England colours and they still have a lot to offer, both on and off the field.”
Strauss also revealed that Root had requested to move up the order and was “very keen” to bat at number three going forward.
“That was his request and I think everyone agreed that was probably a healthy thing for the England team at the moment,” Strauss said.
“Our issues have been at the top of the order so we’re going to see a new opening partnership out there with Alex Lees coming in and Joe’s stepping up to three gives a bit of space in the middle order for some of those less experienced players to show what they can do.”