Jimmy Anderson’s England exit ‘right decision at right time’, insists Rob Key

    Jimmy Anderson’s international retirement is “the right decision at the right time”, according to the England managing director, Rob Key.

    Anderson, the most prolific seamer in Test history, is set to make his farewell appearance against the West Indies at Lord’s in July. News of the bowler’s impending England retirement was first published in the Guardian on Friday, with Anderson confirming the news in a statement on Saturday.

    The 41-year-old, who took his 700th Test wicket in March against India, will make way for the next generation as the England head coach, Brendon McCullum, looks to the future.

    The former England bowler Stuart Broad has expressed concern over the decision, saying the Test team could find themselves with a “quite scary” lack of bowling experience once his old accomplice Anderson joins him in retirement. Key, though, stressed the time has come for others to take up the mantle.

    “We said: ‘we think it’s time for us to move on, that we have to start looking towards the future’,” Key told the BBC’s Test Match Special County Cricket podcast. “This is the right decision and this is the right time. Hopefully he gets a fantastic end at Lord’s.”

    “People need the opportunity to learn to bowl with the new ball, to go through a day’s worth of Test cricket and back it up the next day,” the former England batter added. “Now is the time for people to start learning that.”

    McCullum made a visit to the UK recently from his native New Zealand, with one of the items on his agenda discussing Anderson’s England future in talks alongside Key and captain Ben Stokes.

    “When we made the decision and thought we needed to meet Jimmy to discuss the future, Brendon came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to fly over to England,” Key continued. “We had a conversation for about an hour and a half, which Baz [McCullum] led.

    “I don’t think Jimmy was expecting it, but I don’t think it was completely unexpected. We felt it was right that Jimmy and the public had the opportunity to say goodbye. We didn’t impress upon him that he needed to make the decision there and then. Not so long ago, he decided the Lord’s game would be his last.”

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    Jofra Archer has been included in England’s T20 World Cup squad, with the 29-year-old looking to put a run of injuries behind him following a recurrence of a stress fracture in his right elbow.

    “Jofra needs to build up his robustness, so his body can do what is required to be a fast bowler,” Key said. “Hopefully next year he can play some red-ball cricket. He keeps sending me YouTube clips of his batting, because I think he fancies himself up the order.”

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