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Andrew Strauss shares his agony at the axing of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and how icons' reactions didn't surprise.

ANDREW STRAUSS revealed his pain to old friends Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.

England's greatest Test wicket-takers, with 1,177 scalps between them, were two of eight casualties in the Ashes disaster that saw their place on the West Indies tour vacated.

Andrew Strauss, England's stand-in director of cricket, has admitted that he had 'hard conversations' with Jimmy Anderson
For the March tour to the West Indies, the wicket-taking machines were removed from the squad

The interim managing director confirmed that he had called both to share the bad news.

Strauss stated: "I told them personally - and it was very difficult conversations.

"I hope that they understand the reasoning behind it and what we are trying to accomplish here. Also, that they get the message that this is not the end.

"They were disappointed, and I wouldn’t have expected anything else." They both take great pride in representing England, and they wanted to be there.

Strauss, an ex-england skipper, seemed to suggest that Joe Root did not support the "strategic" decision to leave the pair out. Root "did not have a vote on the selection."

He said, "The topic was given fair airing."

They were once England team-mates

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"Neither of them had any idea that this was the end of their road, or that it was the end for them.

"We want them to be ready for the summer and have put their names forward for selection.

"One thought was to take one of them, but we felt it was an occasion for them both to be excluded and get more people involved with this tour."

Despite the fact that neither Anderson nor Broad were on the stand-by list, Strauss insisted they weren't there because of their immense influence.

The ex-skipper confirmed that Alex Lees, the rookie batsman, will open all three Tests. Ben Foakes took wicket after Jos Buttler was dropped.



Root told selectors that he wanted to bat at No3 in Caribbean, and moving forward - a change from his preference to play at No4.

This influenced the composition of the 17-strong party. Marcus Trescothick will be the batting guru and Paul Collingwood will be the caretaker coach.

Strauss stated: "The first thing Joe mentioned in the selection meeting is that he wants to bat three more going forward.

"This allows us to possibly tackle that top-order issue which has been a problem in our side since a long time.

Joe wants to take accountability. He has done this consistently over the past 18 months, or so, and throughout his entire career.

"He recognizes that if the top orders don't lay foundations, it makes it very difficult to make it work for the middle orders, and he can help us do that.

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"It was his request. It was completely from him at start of meeting. We all agreed that it was a great opportunity for the team.

You must win away from home if you want to be the greatest team in the world.

"We must find ways to compete and win away from home. "The truth is that the England team has been underperforming for a while."