London: Former England batter Mark Butcher said he understands the decision to leave out James Anderson from the Test squad to tour West Indies, but finds leaving out pacer Stuart Broad ‘quite bizarre. Broad and Anderson were notable exclusions from the 16-member squad traveling to West Indies for three Tests, starting March 8.
“I can’t (see the logic). I can certainly see an argument for giving Jimmy the tour off. I think with Stuart, because his performances have been fantastic, unimpeachable for the last year, but probably longer than that, but also from the point of view of what he quite rightly said about trying to win what’s right in front of you, or at least giving yourself the best chance of winning what’s right in front of you. I find it quite bizarre that he didn’t make the trip,” said Butcher on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast.
Sir Andre Strauss, the Interim director of England men’s cricket, has emphasised that exclusion from the West Indies trip isn’t an end to the duo’s long-standing international careers. Butcher, too, feels the same. Broad and Anderson, at 39 and 35 respectively, have earned 321 Test caps and scalped 1,177 wickets between themselves.
“The door’s been left open by the comments that Andrew Strauss has made. And I hesitate to have a go at Strauss’s logic because he’s been here before as a captain and as a director of cricket, and both times he’s made big calls over senior players, and both times he’s been vindicated, in the end.”
“What I would say is, the position with James and Stuart is very different to any Strauss has made before, because Broad and Anderson are still the outstanding bowlers in England’s line-up, if you take Mark Wood out of the equation, and Mark Wood will play.”
Butcher, who played 71 Tests for England, is still unconvinced by the call to drop Broad. “As I said before, I can understand the logic of giving Jimmy the trip off. West Indies pitches, where you have to hit the pitch hard, he’d be able to cope with it no problem, but it seems like unnecessary mileage on his clock.”
“Whereas for Stuart, the case for him being there, was compelling, to prove that he still has the desire, to prove to everybody else, ‘listen, I’m a Test match cricketer, I’m one of the best there’s ever been, and I damn well deserve to be wearing the shirt’.”