Former England captain Andrew Strauss has likened the puzzle of balancing Test and T20 cricket to the complications of "a Rubik's cube" but is optimistic both forms can coexist together.

The announced launch of new white-ball leagues, including the South Africa T20 League and International League T20 in the United Arab Emirates, has further outlined the dominance of the short-form game.

England are set to return to Test cricket this month with a three-game series against South Africa, but the long-term future of the sport's five-day format remains a pressing question.

Strauss acknowledges the challenges presented to balance the two forms are "complicated" within a fast-changing game, but still reasons there is a place for both providing officials do not bury "our heads in the sand".

"The cricket world around us is changing unbelievably quickly," Strauss was quoted by the Guardian. "Every day, every week, every month, we're seeing a new example of how that world is changing.

"We're having to ask ourselves in this country, where does our game fit into that? We [need to] make sure that we have incentives there for our players to play both red-and-white-ball cricket.

"Of course, the ECB have put a lot of time and attention and effort into [giving] the Hundred the potential to be a global short-form event that matches any of these other leagues.

"One of the things that we need to be conscious of in the game in this country is we have to be nimble and adaptable. We can't afford to be slow moving and have our heads in the sand.

"We need to continue promoting all the brilliant things cricket in this country offers players – we want to have a strong domestic game, and we want to make sure the players are playing the right balance of formats.

"I still maintain they can sit together comfortably, Test cricket and T20 cricket. But the challenge we have is, can we produce a manageable schedule that allows players to do both?

"That is really complicated. It's multi-dimensional. It's like a big Rubik's Cube."

Strauss will be on hand this Thursday for the second day of England's Test against South Africa, when Lord's will host its annual Red for Ruth day in memory of the ex-captain's late wife, who passed from lung cancer in 2018.

Ben Stokes' side are looking to maintain their rich vein of form, with the team unbeaten since he succeeding Joe Root as captain earlier this year.

Brendon McCullum is the "perfect person" to turn around England's Test fortunes, according to Andrew Strauss, who was a part of the selection panel for the new men's head coach.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, leading to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes stepping up as skipper in April.

Former opener Rob Key was also appointed as managing director of men's cricket and was tasked with reshaping the faltering structure to make England competitive once more in the five-day game.

As well as confirming Stokes as captain, a decision was made to hire separate coaches for the red ball and limited-overs sides, with McCullum announced as Test coach on Thursday.

The decision represents somewhat of a gamble as New Zealand legend McCullum has only ever coached T20 franchises in the form of Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

However, McCullum played 101 Tests for New Zealand and captained the side through a transformative period, and Strauss believes the 40-year-old is a great appointment by England.

"I'm delighted and I'm excited. He blew us away with his clarity of thinking and his simple approach," the England and Wales Cricket Board's strategic adviser Strauss told Sky Sports.

"He's a very positive guy with a very clear mindset and he will embed that in the Test team at a time when confidence is a bit low and people need a bit of clarity and direction.

"He's an impressive guy. He can't wait to start and, quite frankly, I can't wait for him to start.

"[As a player] he was incredibly ambitious, he used to run down the wicket against some of the quickest bowlers in the world.

"He always took the positive option, he wasn't scared of failing, he wasn't scared of making mistakes and I think that is what this Test team needs at the moment.

"They need someone to back them, to give them confidence and inspire them, and they need to break the shackles and realise how good they are. I think he's the perfect person to do that."

McCullum's first task will see England host his country of birth, New Zealand, in a three-Test series that starts at Lord's on June 2.

England great James Anderson is "still trying to make sense" of being dropped for the West Indies tour and is disappointed with the manner in which he was informed.

Lancashire bowler Anderson was omitted by England as they opted for a new-look squad, led by interim coach Paul Collingwood, to the Caribbean for a three-Test series in March.

Fellow seamer Stuart Broad was also left out as Joe Root's tourists, without the pair that have 1,177 Test wickets between them, fell to a 1-0 series defeat against Kraigg Brathwaite's hosts.

Anderson, who is England's leading Test wicket-taker in history with 640 dismissals, remains confused by the decision, citing a lack of contact and feedback as his main issue.

"It's a bit strange because I am still centrally contracted but have not had too much feedback from them [England] so I have just been trying to work with the guys here at Lancashire," he said.

"I'm still trying to make sense of it [being dropped] and I've just put it to one side. It was completely out of my control. I've got to focus on what I can control and that is bowling as well as I possibly can.

"Firstly, that's here at Lancashire this next two months and take as many wickets as I can."

Chris Silverwood was dismissed in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes thrashing and the ECB are in search of a permanent coaching appointment, along with a new managing director.

Anderson understands England are going through a difficult period, but explained he expected more than a "five-minute call" from interim director Andrew Strauss.

"I would have loved a sit-down face-to-face. I would have loved more than a five-minute phone call," he continued.

"It is difficult because there is no one in those key positions [at England]. I would expect to hear something more once those positions are filled. There's no one in those positions permanently so I am assuming that is why I have not heard anything from them.

"It is what it is. Something like this for me is quite a big deal because it came out of the blue and I still feel like I am bowling well. I'm still in the top ten in the world rankings.

"I still feel like I am doing a job for the team. So I feel like I've got a lot to offer, not just on the field but off it, and I've really enjoyed working with the other bowlers that are coming through."

 

Anderson has not been permitted by England to play in Lancashire's first County Championship match against Kent, which starts on Thursday, due to his central contract.

However, the 39-year-old will be allowed to feature in the second red-ball fixture with Gloucestershire as he looks to again prove his worth to England ahead of their next Test series with New Zealand, which begins in June.

That meeting with Kane Williamson's tourists remains Anderson's sole aim for now.

"If I think of the build-up to a Test series, I want to be in as good a form as possible going into that series," he said.

"For me, the best way of doing that is performing for Lancashire, trying to win games of cricket, and hopefully will lead to a call-up."

England cannot settle for "small incremental changes to make the difference" to their men's cricket setup if they want to compete, according to interim manager director Andrew Strauss.

Strauss left his role at the top of English cricket in 2018 but returned in a temporary role following the 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.

The first of former England captain Strauss' changes saw head coach Chris Silverwood dismissed, with Paul Collingwood stepping up in the interim for the tour of the West Indies.

Joe Root's much-changed tourists, without star bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, shared the spoils in an uneventful first Test with Kraigg Brathwaite's West Indies side in Antigua, but Strauss is aware that success will not arrive "overnight" for a struggling England side.

"The results do not lie," former opener Strauss, whose managing director role started to be advertised for a long-term successor on Monday, told the BBC.

"We have been number one in the world in Test cricket for 12 months in the last 42 years. Small incremental change isn't going to make the difference we need.

"We need to be bold and ambitious."

Strauss headed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) committee that called for a full independent review into English cricket's domestic setup, and he appreciates that "time is ticking" to find a solution in appointing a managing director, who will find the next head coach of the men's team.

"There is a slight ticking clock in terms of the start of the international summer at the beginning of June and we want to get that person in position," he continued.

"It will be their decision around the coach and/or coaches as well, which hopefully will also be in position by the start of the summer, but there is a bit of time pressure for us to make that happen.

"It's going to be his [the new managing director's] team and so he has to look at how he wants to structure the England high-performance department.

"Whether he goes down the single coach or two coach model, he has to have the people that he feels can work with him and has a similar philosophy."

South African Gary Kirsten has been floated as Silverwood's red-ball successor, but Strauss believes whoever the next managing director and head coach are, England have to compete in all formats.

Questioned on who the new managing director may be, and whether they would have to be English, Strauss responded: "I've always been uneasy in saying overseas candidates cannot do the role.

"But what a time to get involved. It is very rare you get the opportunity to start with a blank piece of paper and this person is going to have that.

"Despite the doom and gloom around English cricket, there are a lot of good players out there. We are not going to become brilliant overnight but I think we have a lot of the raw ingredients in place.

"While a lot of the focus post-Ashes has been on red-ball cricket and the domestic structure, our project is broader than that.

"Our ambition has to be for us to be the best team in all formats. We have the ability to do that, and in order for that to happen, we have to look at the whole system.

"We have to accept we have never had a system that has produced that.

"Whatever your focus on red-ball cricket, it's like a Rubik's Cube and it affects white-ball cricket. You cannot look at them in isolation, you have to look at them together.

"The game around us has been moving very quickly. Not just our international players, but our domestic players are playing a lot of cricket abroad in the winter and it's time to ask what our role is in all of this.

"How do we protect our own system but also enhance that system?"

James Anderson insists he still has "a lot left to offer" after speaking for the first time since being surprisingly left out of England's squad for the upcoming Test series against West Indies, from which Stuart Broad is also absent.

Both have been left out of the squad for next month's tour after a dismal Ashes series led to the departure of head coach Chris Silverwood.

Interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss – who replaced the outgoing Ashley Giles – as well as interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor made up a three-man selection committee ahead of the series, which begins in Antigua on March 8.

Strauss insists there remains a way back for both bowlers, who have taken 1,177 Test wickets between them.

However, Anderson – who turns 40 in July – said on the Tailenders podcast: "I'm praying this isn't the end.

"But if I never play for England again, I know I've got amazing people around me to support me and that's really important."

He confirmed his intention to perform for Lancashire when the County Championship starts in April, with the aim of working his way back into England reckoning.

"I've got one more go at digging deep," Anderson added. "I've got a lot left to offer – I've still got the hunger and passion to play.

"It was a shock and a disappointment to get that call but having processed it, it's important I try to focus on stuff I can control and that's showing people what I can do with the ball in my hand."

Anderson is England's record Test wicket-taker with 640 to his name in 169 matches at an average of 26.58, and has taken five wickets in an innings 31 times, more than any other England bowler.

 

Broad had previously hit out at his own omission, writing in the Daily Mail earlier this month: "I am waking up more confused and angrier with each passing day. I feel gutted. 

"Do I need to prove myself again? In my mind, I've nothing to prove. I am a proven performer, so it is now about the English cricketing summer and targeting the home series against New Zealand in June."

Stuart Broad has hit out at his omission from England's squad for the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, from which James Anderson is also absent.

England's all-time leading Test wicket-takers Broad and Anderson have been left out of the squad for next month's tour after a dismal Ashes series led to the departure of head coach Chris Silverwood.

Interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss, interim coach Paul Collingwood, and head scout James Taylor made up a three-man selection committee ahead of the series, which begins in Antigua on March 8, and have settled on a 16-man squad that does not include either of the seamers.

Despite Strauss contending that there was a way back for both bowlers, who have taken 1,177 Test wickets between them, Broad has used his newspaper column to hit out at the decision.

"I have to confess that I wasn't expecting the phone call I received from Andrew Strauss on Tuesday that started with him saying: 'I've got some bad news'," Broad wrote in the Daily Mail.

"I am waking up more confused and angrier with each passing day. I feel gutted. 

"Do I need to prove myself again? In my mind, I've nothing to prove. I am a proven performer, so it is now about the English cricketing summer and targeting the home series against New Zealand in June."

 

The 35-year-old pace bowler, whose tally of 73 career Test wickets against the West Indies is only beaten by Anderson's 87 amongst active players, also moved to defend his recent England performances and denied that any behind-the-scenes unrest had contributed to the decision.

"I could take being dropped if I had let my standards slip but being overlooked when they haven't is another thing," Broad's column continued.

"I am struggling to put things into context. It's hard to do so when all you've had is a five-minute phone call.

"If I had spoken to one person who had said they agreed with the decision to leave myself and Jimmy out, I could perhaps begin to understand. 

"Do I believe I warrant a place in England's best team? Of course, I do.

"People will ask if there has therefore been some fall-out behind the scenes, a bit of a rumble during the Ashes, but I can categorically say that is not the case. Hence, neither Jimmy nor I saw this coming. We were blindsided."

England's last series win in the West Indies came back in 2003-04.

Andrew Strauss called for England's bowlers to step up after the omission of James Anderson and Stuart Broad against the West Indies but suggested the pair could feature later in the year.

England's interim managing director Strauss, interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor made up the three-man selection panel for the series, which starts in Antigua on March 8, and opted for a host of changes to the side.

Joe Root will once again lead his country, despite a 4-0 Ashes hammering by Australia in December and January, with Collingwood acting as interim coach following the departure of Chris Silverwood.

Anderson and Broad, who have managed 1,177 wickets in 321 Tests between them, were the most notable names left out of the touring party for the three-Test series in the Caribbean.

Lancashire pair Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson, along with Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher, were all included as the trio eye red-ball international debuts.

Strauss challenged the bowlers of the new-look squad to deliver in the absence of their evergreen stars, insisting that both the fresh faces and the more experienced players – such as Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes – must step up.

"This is an opportunity to refresh and look forward," Strauss told BBC Sport in an interview published on Wednesday. "We've brought some new blood into the bowling resources. 

"But we're also asking some of our existing bowlers to play a slightly different role to the one they've played before and show a bit more leadership."

 

Strauss reiterated the omission of Broad and Anderson does not signal the end for the duo, while he denied the pair's stature could be intimidating to captain Root and his younger players.

"They've earned the right to have that stature," he added.

"But we also have to think that there is life beyond them as well and we need to develop some of the other bowlers and allow them to play more of a leadership role, rather than just a followership role.

"No-one is saying Broad and Anderson won't feature this summer and beyond.

"My job is to give the new director of cricket and coach options from which to pick and we can learn more about the options we do have on this tour.

"The new coach and director of cricket will look at selection for the summer and Broad and Anderson will be very much in the mix."

Former opener Strauss also confirmed that Root will come in at number three, while the uncapped Durham batter Alex Lees will partner Zak Crawley at the top of the order amid England's ongoing battle problems.

"A lot of our batting problems have come at the top of the order," Strauss continued.

"Alex Lees comes in as a mature cricketer who knows his game well and it's an opportunity for him to stake his claim with Zak Crawley.

"Joe Root has said very categorically that he wants to bat at three and take that responsibility on.

"That's quite a fundamental shift in itself and creates a bit of space in the middle order for some of the less experienced players to play better and more consistently."

England have left out their all-time leading wicket-takers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, for the upcoming Test series against West Indies.

In the wake of head coach Chris Silverwood departing after a dismal Ashes series, England will be led in the Caribbean by captain Joe Root and interim coach Paul Collingwood.

There has been a push to freshen up their red-ball squad for the three-match tussle, starting in Antigua on March 8, and that has meant Anderson and Broad losing their places.

The selection panel, consisting of interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss, Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, named a 16-man squad on Tuesday.

As well as Broad and Anderson, six other players who featured in Australia have been left out: Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, who both endured poor stints Down Under.

Strauss contended this was by no means definitely the end of the road in Tests for Broad, 35, or Anderson, who turns 40 in July. Between them, the pair have taken 1,177 wickets in 321 Tests.

 

"In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players," said Strauss, who captained both seamers during his playing career.

"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.

"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."

However, Strauss also explained that England are looking to "start a new cycle" after a run of poor results in the longest format.

"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," he said.

"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."

Durham opener Alex Lees and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher have earned maiden call-ups, while Lancashire's Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson will be aiming to make their Test debuts.

Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes has also been included in Buttler's absence, having not featured since playing against India in March 2021.

England squad:

Joe Root (captain), Jonny 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.

Joe Root will continue as England's Test captain at least for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, interim managing director Andrew Strauss has confirmed.

Root's position as skipper was thought to be under threat in the wake of England's crushing 4-0 Ashes series defeat to Australia.

That embarrassment proved the final straw for much-maligned head coach Chris Silverwood and managing director Ashley Giles, who were both dismissed this week.

There have been plenty of calls from fans and pundits alike for Root to also be removed from his position, though it would appear he is safe for the time being.

In his first news conference since temporarily taking over from Giles, Strauss said: "Having spoken to [Root], it is absolutely clear the extent of his commitment to taking this England cricket team forward. He has got incredible motivation and energy to do that.

"He is bruised, hugely disappointed by what went on in the Ashes – that goes without saying and many others are in the same boat – but he has the respect of the players, they all play for him and obviously he sets a magnificent example both on and off the field.

"I'm very happy to give him my support, and make sure that we've got the right sort of structure around him to take the pressure off him and allow him to do his job on the pitch."

Graham Thorpe, who operated as Silverwood's assistant, has not been so fortunate.

A statement confirmed the former England batsman "has left his position" with immediate effect.

Strauss said: "I'd like to thank Graham for his work over many years on the England coaching staff and wish him the best for the future."

England are due to begin their three-Test tour of West Indies on March 8.

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