Brendon McCullum backs Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson for key roles in shaping England’s future

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

New Test Coach Brendon McCullum believes veteran fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad can be at the “forefront” of the next era of England’s Test team.

Anderson and Broad were unceremoniously dropped for England’s last series, against West Indies in March, in the wake of an Ashes drubbing in Australia.

The pair, who turn 40 and 36 this summer respectively, have been recalled for McCullum’s first squad, to face his native New Zealand at Lord’s and Trent Bridge over the next fortnight.

McCullum is 40 and played both men across all three formats and clearly believes there should be no timeframe placed on their retirements.

This comes at a time when England are facing an awful fast bowling injury crisis. Jofra Archer, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Fisher are out for the summer with stress fractures of the back, Mark Wood is still recovering from an elbow injury, Chris Woakes has knee and shoulder problems, Olly Stone is working his way back to fitness after back and hip injuries, Ollie Robinson has barely played this season, while Sam Curran is still building back from a serous back injury.

That leaves Anderson, Broad and Craig Overton as capped options, while Durham’s Matty Potts is in the squad after a superb start to the season.

“I’m looking forward to working with them,” said McCullum. “I probably looked at them a few years ago and I thought it was going to be a time where England would have to transition to the next stage.

“But it just shows how tough they are physically and how tough they are mentally and how driven they are to perform.

“I’m looking forward to sitting down with them and chatting about what they want out of the next few years. How do they want to leave the game when the time does eventuate?

“If you do that and you understand your mortality as a cricketer, I think you’re then really able enjoy and really find that sweet spot in the final years of your career.

“Who knows when that time is. I haven’t got a definitive date on it. And I’m sure they don’t either just yet. But for now, we should enjoy the fact we’ve got more than 280 Test matches sitting in our bowling unit and guys have been there and done it before.

“It’d be great if they were at the forefront of the next development in the side.”

McCullum admitted that he had to hand the selection reins to others on the panel, such as MD Rob Key, captain Ben Stokes and Head Scout James Taylor. They have backed the likes of Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope, who will bat No3 having never done so in first-class cricket.

“I picked Stokes, and Root, and Broad, and Anderson,” he joked, mentioning those he played against.

“Obviously, I don’t have intricate knowledge of the players that that some of the other guys sitting on that panel have, so respectfully I kind of sat back a little bit. I’ve got an idea of how I think we should play which aligns to the skipper’s idea as well.

“And once you have that, you can start to formulate the players who you think are capable of being able to do that as well. It’s not a massive difference in the team that played previously, but I think there’s a couple of subtle changes in there, which may be just a bit of a sign of how we want to play the game.

“Ollie Pope at No3 for instance, yes there’s risk with it, but everyone that’s been around English cricket, all the guys in the side talk about how good a player this guy is, and what his potential is.

“Let’s see it, give him the opportunity in a position which has been difficult, if he’s able to nail it, then your middle order looks very, very good.”

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