Andrew Strauss reveals agony over axing pals James Anderson and Stuart Broad and how icons’ reaction didn’t surprise him

ANDREW STRAUSS has revealed his agony telling old pals Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad they were dropped.

England’s all-time Test wicket-takers – with 1,177 scalps between them – were two of the eight casualties from the Ashes debacle to lose their places for the tour to West Indies.

England’s stand in director of cricket Andrew Strauss has revealed he had ‘hard’ conversations with Jimmy Anderson and Stuart BroadCredit: Rex

The wicket-taking machines were dumped from the squad for the March tour of the West Indies

The wicket-taking machines were dumped from the squad for the March tour of the West IndiesCredit: PA

The interim managing director confirmed he had personally rung both of them to give the bad news.

Strauss said: “I told them myself – and they were very hard conversations.

“I hope they understood the thinking behind it and what we’re trying to achieve here, and also that they got the message very strongly that this isn’t the end for them.

“They were disappointed and I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise. They take great pride in representing England and they both wanted to be on that tour.“

Former England skipper Strauss appeared to hint the “strategic decision” to omit the pair was not entirely backed by Joe Root, who did “not have a vote on selection.”

He added: “The topic was given a fair airing.

The trio used to be England team-mates

The trio used to be England team-matesCredit: AFP

“There was no impression from either of them that this is the end of the road or that we saw it as the end of the road for them.

“We want them fired up and ready to go in the summer, and putting their names forward for selection.

“One thing considered was taking one of them but we felt it was an opportunity for both of them to be left out and get more people involved in this tour.”

Neither Anderson nor Broad were included in a stand-by list although Strauss took pains to deny they had been left out because their influence off the field was too great.

But the ex-skipper did confirm that rookie Alex Lees will open in all three Tests, with Ben Foakes keeping wicket after Jos Buttler was also dropped.

ROOT WANTS THREE SPOT

Root had told the selectors he wants to bat at No3 in the Caribbean and going forward – a U-turn on his previous preference to go in at No4.

That influenced the make-up of the 17-strong party, which will have Marcus Trescothick as batting guru alongside caretaker coach Paul Collingwood.

Strauss said: “The first thing Joe said in the selection meeting was that he’s very keen to bat three going forward.

“That allows us to potentially tackle that top-order problem which has been a thorn in our side for a long time now.

“Joe wants to take responsibility. He’s done that consistently with the bat over the last 18 months or so, over his entire career really.

“He recognises that, if the top order don’t lay the foundations it makes it very difficult for those coming in in the middle order, and he can help us with that.

“It was his request, came completely from him at the start of the meeting, and we all agreed it was a good opportunity for the team.

“If you want to be the best team in the world – and that seems a long way off right at the moment – you have to win away from home.

“We need to identify ways of competing and winning away from home. The truth is the England team has underperformed for a period of time.”

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