England’s newly appointed Test skipper Ben Stokes on Tuesday (3rd May) said that senior pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will always be in the squad if they will be fit.
After England suffered a 4-0 thrashing in Ashes 2021-22, they made shocking changes to their squad for the West Indies series as the likes of Anderson and Broad were axed from the team.
The omission of the fast-bowling duo saw England receive a lot of flak for their selection as they felt that ECB treated them harshly, considering their record in Test cricket.
Both Broad and Anderson have been ageing like a fine wine and carrying the load of England’s bowling line-up in the longest format of the game even in their late 30s. They have combined to take 1,177 wickets in the longest format of the game.
England recently saw a change in their Test skipper as Joe Root stepped down from the post and Ben Stokes was given the responsibility to lead the side. The all-rounder now has clearly mentioned that if fit, Anderson and Broad will always be part of England’s Test squad.
Speaking to reporters, Ben Stokes said: "I've made it pretty clear to Rob (Key, ECB managing director) and he's on the same wavelength as me. You pick your best 11 players. If Stuart Broad and James Anderson are fit, they're definitely a part of that."
Stokes said that he will make sure that everyone in his side wants to turn things around and doesn’t focus on the past.
"One thing I feel like I've got to do is to make sure I get everyone not focusing on the past. We want to turn (things) around and it's all about the future, what we've got ahead of us. If anything, it's a clean slate," Stokes told Sky Sports in a separate interview.
Ben Stokes remarked that captaincy is as important on the field as it's off it. The all-rounder feels he has been the go-to person for his teammates and hopes that it continues even with him wearing the captaincy armband.
“Being a captain is not just about focusing on what goes on between 11 o'clock and 6 o'clock. It's a job that continues after those hours. It's also not just about controlling things on the field, it's about building yourself to be someone that your players can always come to... I've always felt like I am that person in the team, I hope that doesn't change now just because I'm captain,” he said.
Stokes’ first assignment as the Test skipper of the side will begin with the series against New Zealand, starting 2nd June at Lord’s.