Two legends of the game, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, were among the eight players culled from the Ashes touring party as England announced a 16-man Test squad for the West Indies tour. (More Cricket News)
Anderson, 39, is England's all-time leading wicket-taker in Tests with 640 dismissals in 169 matches. The 35-year-old Broad is second, having taken 537 wickets in 152 matches. Together, they form the most successful pace pair in cricket history.
Both the bowlers were part of the Joe Root-led England side which lost the Ashes series in Australia 0-4, mainly due to batting failures. Interestingly, Broad and Anderson survived anxious moments on Day 5 of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground to save the match and deny the Aussies a clean sweep.
England, now under the care of a temporary set-up with Andrew Strauss as the interim managing director and Paul Collingwood as the part-time head coach, have felt "that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously."
But leaving out their two most prolific bowlers in the last nine years may well not serve the purpose, at least for now as an embattled England look to redeem themselves from the Ashes debacle. For the record, their T20I side, number one in the world, lost the preceding series against the Windies 2-3.
"No-one doubts the quality and experience that James and Stuart bring to the England set-up. 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.
Here's a look at England's most wickets by a bowler in a year, starting 2013 - Broad (62), 2014 - Anderson (40), 2015 - Broad (56), 2016 - Broad (48), 2017 - Anderson (55), 2018 - Anderson (43), 2019 - Broad (43), 2020 - Broad (38), 2021 - Anderson (39).
Anderson is third in the all-time list of most wicket-takers, only behind spin greats Muthiah Muralidaran (800) and Shane Warne (708); while Broad is sixth.
In the absence of Anderson and Broad, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes will lead the pace attack with Saqib Mahmood, who's yet to play a Test, in the supporting role. Matthew Fisher, another seamer, has been called up for the first time along with opener Alex Lees.
Spinner Matthew Parkinson will also hope to make his Test debut during the three-match Test series, which starts on March 8 at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua. The second and third Test will be played at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua and National Cricket Stadium, St George's, Grenada, respectively.
Others from the Ashes squad who have failed to make the squad are - Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan.
England Test squad: Joe Root (captain), Jonathan Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fisher, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.