Rob Key holds talks with England’s axed duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson over Test recalls, with new managing director also expected to be in touch with captain-in-waiting Ben Stokes this week
- Rob Key contacted James Anderson and Stuart Broad on Easter Sunday
- New England managing director’s appointment relayed to players via email
- Key addressed the recent absence of a pair with 1,177 Test wickets immediately
- Key was an advocate of England selecting the strongest XIs possible as pundit
Rob Key has already been in touch with England bowling outcasts Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad ahead of the Test summer.
Sportsmail understands the new England chief contacted the decorated duo — who were controversially axed for the 1-0 defeat by West Indies last month — on Easter Sunday before he was officially unveiled as the successor to Ashley Giles.
The 42-year-old’s appointment as managing director was relayed to players via email that morning and announced by the ECB in the afternoon.
Rob Key has been in touch with England bowling outcasts Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson
New managing director Key (above) contacted the decorated duo before being unveiled
Although his first official day in the post was Tuesday, Key addressed the recent absence of a pair with 1,177 Test wickets between them immediately by checking their availability for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2.
In contrast to Sir Andrew Strauss, who sanctioned their omission for the tour of the Caribbean, Key was an advocate of England selecting the strongest XIs possible while working as a media pundit — which suggests Broad and Anderson will be considered for recalls.
Both have been made available to play in the County Championship this week by the ECB, but neither is certain to feature.
Key is also expected to be in touch with England captain-in-waiting Ben Stokes this week.
Key is also expected to be in touch with England captain-in-waiting Ben Stokes this week
A limited number of players will be available for him to watch in the third round of the Championship — which starts on Thursday — with Stokes and Joe Root, who resigned as England Test captain last Friday, resting and several bowlers still sidelined following winter excursions.
Despite being given the green light to play, Broad is set to delay his build-up to the international summer.
Mo Bobat, the ECB’s performance director, has been discussing individual plans with the bowlers on a case-by-case basis as they prepare for the rigours of a seven-Test summer.
And Broad, 35, is understood to be targeting fixtures at grounds where he would feature for England in the event of a recall.
This means he will sit out Nottinghamshire’s visit to Chester-le-Street this week and aim to play two home games at Trent Bridge along with one at Lord’s instead.
The return to action of Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes has been delayed after an injury set-back
Mark Wood is aiming to return for Durham at the start of the Vitality Blast after elbow surgery
His long-term England new-ball partner Anderson has always wanted to play for Lancashire whenever available, but may also make fewer appearances in the first part of the Championship season to avoid being fatigued when the Tests start.
The return to action of Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes has been delayed following an injury setback and Ollie Robinson is unavailable for Sussex due to illness. This comes after fitness issues meant that Robinson did not appear in any of the three recent Tests in the Caribbean.
Woakes returned from that tour with knee and shoulder injuries and was expected to play in three of four County Championship matches, starting with the away fixture against Somerset on April 28.
Anderson (left) featured in six of new managing director Key’s 15 Tests for England
However, the 33-year-old will not travel to Taunton due to recent niggles in training and he will therefore look to return in the game against Lancashire in the first week of May.
Meanwhile, Mark Wood is aiming to return for Durham at the start of the Vitality Blast following elbow surgery last month — mirroring the comeback plans of fellow pace bowler Jofra Archer with Sussex. The Blast starts on May 25.
In terms of England action, both could be reintroduced during the limited-overs tour of the Netherlands that takes place next month.