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Anderson, Broad available for selection for 1st Test against New Zealand: Rob Key

Despite their combined 1177 Test wickets, Anderson, 39, and Broad, 35, have had their futures in doubt since England’s 4-0 Ashes loss. They were not named to England’s squad for the West Indies tour, in which Joe Root’s team lost 1-0.

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Veteran pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be considered “available for selection” for the first Test of the summer, against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2, according to Rob Key, England’s new men’s team director, on Thursday.

Despite their combined 1177 Test wickets, Anderson, 39, and Broad, 35, have had their futures in doubt since England’s 4-0 Ashes loss. They were not named to England’s squad for the West Indies tour, in which Joe Root’s team lost 1-0.

However, Key, speaking for the first time in his new role, stated that he had spoken with Root’s newly appointed successor, Ben Stokes, and both men agreed that if Anderson and Broad are fit and in form when the international season begins, they will be back in the running.

“Before I was announced in this job, I rang Jimmy and Broady and said ‘For my money, you boys are available for selection for the first Test of the summer’,” Key told the BBC.

“That’s fine, but I’m the managing director. What they want is the captain to go with that. One of the first things Ben Stokes said was ‘Jimmy and Broady are coming back’ and I agree. It might’ve been a different story had we not agreed. But it wasn’t up for debate,” he added.

Broad returned to action for the first time this season in Nottinghamshire’s ongoing Championship match against Worcestershire at Trent Bridge, claiming a wicket in his third over as Worcestershire were bowled out for 159 on the first day. Meanwhile, Anderson took two early wickets for Lancashire against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, after finding his rhythm in an innings win over Gloucestershire at Old Trafford last week.

“They’ve got their plans in place. We don’t need to tell Jimmy and Broady what they need to do, or how they need to prepare for a Test match. If they don’t know now, no one will. And they’ve got to be right and up for selection for that first Test. And I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t and they got a big part to play,” said Key.

Despite the fact that time is of the essence, with just over a month until the first Test against New Zealand, England’s men’s team director is “optimistic” that a new head coach can be appointed before the series begins. Simon Katich is thought to be among the frontrunners, with Graham Ford and Gary Kirsten also in the running, but with Stokes now installed as captain, Key is confident that the team’s new framework will take shape quickly.

“There’s some good names coming in from English cricket and world cricket.I’m trying to find out about the ones I might not know so much about. A lot of it comes not from sitting across a room asking him what sort of coach you are, but actually asking people that have worked with him,” he said.

(Inputs from IANS)