Broad advised to give up T20
Durham 78 for 2 trail Nottinghamshire 377 by 299 runs
Stuart Broad may have to call time on his England Twenty20 career - and with it the "kudos" that goes with being captain - to give him a better chance of staying fit for Test and one-day international cricket.
The 27-year-old fast bowler is playing competitive cricket for the first time since the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh as Nottinghamshire take on Durham at Trent Bridge and bowled six overs in no obvious discomfort after suffering tendonitis in his right knee.
But Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket and now one of the England selectors, said that the likelihood the problem would flare up again placed a question mark over Broad's involvement in all three formats at international level.
Given his importance in England's Test and ODI attacks, managing his workload would probably mean sacrificing his place in the Twenty20 side.
"Stuart is a key man for Test cricket and one-day internationals, so in terms of managing his fitness I think we are going to have to look at Twenty20 for Stuart," Newell said.
"The last two or three years he has picked up a lot of little things and he would want to have played more cricket than he has.
"There is a lot of ODI cricket coming up and how you manage the workload for players like Stuart through the summer and as you prepare for the 50-over World Cup next February is something that will have to be looked at."
Broad needed painkillers to get through the World Twenty20 and was rested for England's current one-day series against Sri Lanka. Earlier this month, speaking at the launch of Royal London's sponsorship of English one-day cricket, Broad expressed a desire to continue in all formats but Newell believes he would accept the need to give one up to give himself a better chance of prolonging his Test career, even if it means relinquishing the captaincy.
"Of course there is kudos in being captain, but I think he will get his head around [losing] that," Newell said. "He is proud and ambitious, but captaincy in a longer form of the game, perhaps in one-day cricket, would remain a possibility."
In the shorter term, Newell expressed concern that the poor weather forecast for the remainder of the current round of matches would not help either Broad or Ben Stokes in their plans to prove themselves match-fit ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka next month.
Broad has the current match against Durham and Nottinghamshire's next Championship fixture, against Sussex next week, to get some overs into his legs. Stokes, who is back in action in this match following his self-inflicted broken wrist, is scheduled to play also against Middlesex at Chester-le-Street. The first Test begins on 12 June.
"I was quite impressed with what Stuart did," Newell said. "He bowled a good length, the full length we talked about on this pitch and swung the ball early on to the left-handers.
"But the forecast for the next two days is poor and if he comes out of this game with only six overs it will be disappointing and there will be a need for him to bowl a lot of overs at Hove."
Newell said that the same would apply to allrounder Stokes, although in his case he simply needs to demonstrate overall fitness. Although he still has some residual pain from needing a screw inserted to help his damaged scaphoid bone knit together, his bowling mechanism is not affected.
"Ben has that bit of magic about him, he makes things happen," Newell said. "He is a real competitor, he has a bit of fight, as you could see in Australia when he took it to the Aussies and stood up for himself. Once he is fully fit, as a fourth seamer he gives England what Shane Watson gives to Australia.
"He is desperate to start playing again and the only danger is that he rushes back too soon. Durham play Middlesex next and we will be looking at how much cricket he can get in."
Matt Prior's chances of regaining his place as wicketkeeper will also depend on how much cricket he can play in this and the next round of games. There was no play at all in Sussex's match against Middlesex at the Merchant Taylors' School Ground in Northwood on day one and the question mark over Prior's Achilles tendon means that he will have to demonstrate not only that he can keep wicket without discomfort but to show no reaction afterwards.
"After what happened in the winter, the first Test against Sri Lanka is a massive game for England and you have to go into that match with people who are 100 per cent fit," Newell said. "You don't want to be worrying about injuries or managing fitness."
Newell, who was interviewed for the England coach's job, has put aside his disappointment at missing out to Peter Moores and his relishing his involvement as a selector, a role in which his willingness to share his thoughts with frankness and clarity can only be welcome.
"It is a challenging time," he said. "There are probably only four or five players who are inked in, which is interesting given the history in the last few years."
He identified the wicketkeeper's position and the debate over replacing Graeme Swann as the spinner in the side as the biggest of the immediate challenges.
"Swanny not being around is one of the biggest headaches," he said. "Are you going to pick an out-and-out spinner, in which case you go for the best spinner, or is there a balance of team to be had? If your spin bowler is a batsman of quality, such as Moeen Ali or Samit Patel, and you have an allrounder such as a Stokes or Chris Woakes or Ravi Bopara type, then the wicketkeeper could come in as low as eight.
"The 'keeper situation is massive. If you are going to have high-quality seam bowling you want to have a good man behind the pegs. There are two camps of keeper - there is the Kieswetter, Buttler, Bairstow group and there is the Foster, Read group, more the old-school wicketkeeper. I watched Foster last week and he was terrific. There will be an interesting debate there.
"What has come out of the winter is a complete rethink with five, six, seven spots up for grabs, which is a bit scary but exciting at the same time."