James Anderson and Stuart Broad back in England Test contention

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James Anderson (left) and Stuart Broad are in contention to return to England’s Test side (Jason O’Brien/PA) (PA Wire)
James Anderson (left) and Stuart Broad are in contention to return to England’s Test side (Jason O’Brien/PA) (PA Wire)

Rob Key has confirmed that James Anderson and Stuart Broad are set to return to England’s Test fold and says new captain Ben Stokes wants the record-breaking opening bowlers to be part of his side.

Key – England’s new managing director of men’s cricket – replaces interim Sir Andrew Strauss, who made the controversial decision to drop the nation’s two leading all-time Test match wicket-takers for last month’s tour of the West Indies.

Now the pair, who have taken 1,177 Test scalps between them, look set to be back in the picture for the three-match series against New Zealand which starts on June 2.

Key told Sky Sports: “Before it was announced that I was doing this job, I rang them up and said in my opinion they’re both available for selection.

“I told them, ‘I can’t promise you’re going to play but you’re available’ and Ben Stokes has been very clear he wants Jimmy and Broady to come back in.

“It will purely be done on what is the best XI to win a Test match and if they’re in that – there’s every chance they will be because they’re very good bowlers – they will be.

“They just want to continue on this journey they’ve been on and they didn’t want it to finish in the way it possibly might have done. They were very happy and pleased to be up for selection.”

Anderson and Broad were dropped following England’s 4-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia, after which head coach Chris Silverwood was also sacked.

His replacement is next on Key’s agenda, but he would not name names when it came to potential coaching appointments as he said he was still doing his homework on a number of candidates.

“There’s a lot of people that people are writing about,” he said.

“Every morning I wake up and read about who I’ve spoken to. All the names you read about would be very good if they got the chance to do it. I’ve got to work out who the best is.

“I’m looking at everyone around. I haven’t spoken to anyone yet. I’m digging around to see what they’re like as coaches. No one is out of the running so far.

“It’s for me and the people I trust to work out who is the best to lead England forward.”

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