London, May 4 (IANS) England’s newly-appointed skipper Ben Stokes has indicated that he is extremely keen to get pace-bowling stalwarts, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, back in the Test squad for the three-match series at home against New Zealand commencing at Lord’s on June 2.
The two ageing warhorses were curiously overlooked for England’s three-Test tour of the Caribbean earlier this year as selectors instead opted to provide greater opportunities to the next generation of seam bowlers. England, then led by Joe Root, ended up losing the series 0-1.
Root stepped down in the aftermath of the series loss even as plenty of question marks remained unanswered about the team’s future.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has since confirmed Rob Key as their new managing director of their men’s team and appointed Stokes as Test captain, with the short-term future of their two leading wicket-takers now looking better ahead of a busy summer schedule, where they will also play a Test against India.
In his first interview after being appointed skipper, Stokes said he is keen to bring a winning culture back to England, adding that he plans to have both the seamers back in the side for the this summer 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 an option for the England Test team’s vice-captain’s role, saying instead that he would want the 31-year-old prolific run-getter to concentrate on his batting. Root has so far scored 25 Test centuries and his current rating on the ICC Men’s Test Batting Rankings is fourth.
Asked who else would make the cut for England’s first Test of the summer against New Zealand, Stokes indicated 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.”