Yorkshire bowler Matthew Fisher called up for England Test tour of West Indies

England’s record wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been dropped from next month’s Test tour of the West Indies – with Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher earning a first call-up.

Happy days: Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher has been called up by England. Picture: Dave Williams
Happy days: Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher has been called up by England. Picture: Dave Williams

England’s record wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been dropped from next month’s Test tour of the West Indies – with Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher earning a first call-up.

Durham opener Alex Lees, the Halifax-born former White Rose player, is also named in the squad as the post-Ashes cull took a dramatic turn.

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An off-field clearout after this winter’s 4-0 thrashing Down Under has already accounted for head coach Chris Silverwood, the former Yorkshire bowler, assistant Graham Thorpe and director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles and last night’s squad announcement brought even more seismic changes.

Dropped: Yorkshire's Dawid Malan is one of eight casualties from the disastrous Ashes tour. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire.

A surprisingly ruthless selection by the interim management team of Sir Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood, who were assisted by lead scout James Taylor, has kicked off the much-discussed ‘red-ball reset’ with eight players dropped following the debacle in Australia.

While Jos Buttler’s form made him a prime candidate for the chop, pushing their two most experienced players towards the precipice is a striking move. Strauss said their longer-term futures would be decided by Silverwood’s successor as Test coach but there was a notable lack of assurances for the pair, alongside a stated desire to “draw a line” and start “a journey” - both of which sound ominous for the veterans.

Yorkshire pair Dawid Malan and Dom Bess, along with Sam Billings, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed are the other axed players, with four uncapped names in the panel.

Yorkshire’s York-born seamer Fisher, 24, is a direct beneficiary of the rebooted bowling attack, opener Lees has a chance to audition for a top-order spot, while the Lancashire pair Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson also travel.

Tour opening: Durham's Alex Lees (left), the former Yorkshire batter, is also named in the tour party. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

“With the start of a new cycle, it has allowed the selection panel to refresh the Test squad with a particular focus on competing away from home,” said Strauss, who was responsible for a similar reset in white-ball cricket in 2015.

That also saw Anderson and Broad taken out of the set-up and culminated in World Cup glory four years later.

He went on: “We felt that it was time to draw a line after the Ashes defeat, look forward and give some impetus with an influx of new players.

“In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players.

“We feel that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously.

“It will be up to the new managing director and permanent head coach to decide on whether they will be involved this summer and beyond.

“This selection of this squad is the start of a process and a journey to get England Test cricket back to where it needs to be - and the hard work starts now.”

Anderson, 39, has 640 wickets in a Test career dating back 169 games and almost 19 years - more than any other pace bowler in history - while 35-year-old Broad boasts 537 scalps in 152 appearances.

It is now very possible that those remarkable numbers will not be added to.

Both men played reduced roles against Australia, playing three games apiece out of five, but were also responsible for some of England’s better moments.

Anderson topped the bowling averages with his eight wickets costing just 23.37 apiece, while Broad took the tourists’ first five-for of the trip in Sydney.