England v Sri Lanka, only Twenty20, Bristol June 24, 2011

Broad braced for leadership debut


Two new international captains will go head-to-head in Bristol on Saturday as both England and Sri Lanka get a glimpse of the future. However, while Thilina Kandamby is only filling in for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan, Stuart Broad is setting out on the road that will take him and his team towards the defence of their World Twenty20 crown next year in Sri Lanka.

There is certainly no shortage of international captains between these two sides at present. England will be led by Broad in Bristol, then Alastair Cook for the one-day internationals having had Andrew Strauss at the helm throughout the recent Test series. Meanwhile, Kumar Sangakkara was in charge of Sri Lanka for the final Test and now Kandamby takes on the job as Dilshan's thumb heals. In the long term Angelo Mathews, the hugely talented allrounder who will have a fitness test before the Twenty20, is viewed as the captain-in-waiting.

Given that Broad is part of England's long-term planning, it is his leadership debut that provides the most interest. Kandamby expressed surprise when informed that Broad had not captained England at either Under-19 or A-team level, but didn't think it would make a huge difference. "He has played a lot of international cricket and knows what happens."

Broad, who turned 25 on the eve of the match, comfortably outdoes Kandamby on Twenty20 experience with 29 matches to four. Yet he knows he'll have to learn on his feet, even though has been earmarked as captaincy material since the tour of West Indies in 2009 when he led an inter-squad match in St Kitts and impressed Andy Flower.

"That's part and parcel of getting picked for England quite young is you never have a chance to captain a side at a younger age," he said. "But I always have a mindset when I walk out onto the pitch that I have to think like a captain about field placements and what balls to deliver. I've been very fortunate to play under the likes Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood - some brilliant captains - and I've learnt a lot. I feel 100% ready to lead the side."

This is a job that comes with expectations as, for the first time, England have the opportunity to defend a global title next year. Under Paul Collingwood they established a Twenty20 world record of eight consecutive victories, a run which only ended in their most recent match - Collingwood's last as captain - against Australia at Melbourne.

"I don't think we have to change a huge amount in this Twenty20 side because we've had some success," Broad said. "We are World Twenty20 champions and went on an unbeaten run so we have some very good principles that we perform to. I'm obviously going to have my own ideas and I'm very keen for the guys to have role clarity in what they are doing, but we certainly aren't reinventing the wheel."

Broad faces the difficulty, though, of captaining the side in fits and starts. Twenty20 internationals remain thin on the ground - England have played four since winning the world title - and, even with two extra matches in the pipeline against West Indies in September, Broad is likely to have led England in a single-figure number of games by the next World Twenty20.

"We have to make all the games count," he said. "I've reiterated to the players how we need to make every ball count in this game and learn as much as we can. As a captain I'll dive at any chance to gain more experience. There was a bit of concern we didn't have enough T20 cricket leading into the next World Cup, so the thought of having two more games is pleasing for the guys in the T20 side."

England's previous new Twenty20 captain was Cook, who was actually younger than Broad when he stood in for Collingwood against South Africa in 2009, and it was noticeable how quickly Cook lost control of the situation. Admittedly, Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman were launching the attack onto Centurion's grass banks with regularity, but Cook still appeared overwhelmed by advice that came from all corners. Broad knows he'll have to remain focused under extreme pressure.

"I'm a big believer in the guy who is going to be delivering that ball so there's no point in the cover fielder telling him he needs a deep extra cover if he's going to be bowling a bouncer or something," he said. "I'm very open to ideas and can listen and filter them through, but the key is talking with the bowler and decide where he wants to bowl that ball. I work very closely with these bowlers in training every day and get on very well with them, so if that's clear I see us having no problems."

Ahead of his big day, Broad has been tapping into some experienced Twenty20 minds to help him prepare. He has spoken to Collingwood - "between his rounds of golf" - but it was on the golf course himself where David Hussey, Nottinghamshire's Twenty20 captain, gave Broad some valuable advice.

"The biggest tip I've been given is that you have a bit more time than you think," Broad said. "He said not to be frightened to take a bit of time out of the game to speak to your bowlers. If we're rushing around like headless chickens in the last two overs I've got it a bit wrong, but I'll certainly be taking a few breaths to make sure we've got it clear."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sinhhalaya on June 25, 2011, 21:32 GMT

    So nice not to see SB pitch a "hissy fit" as our American friends say. Maybe Daddy Chris can now retire and let match referee uncles see the young'un for what he is.

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    T20 is a funny game as broad is a funny captain

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    i guess swann would have been a better choice, swann does look agressive n does wonders when he comes on to bowl, broad is a mediocre bowler

  • Amit on June 25, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    Broad is the luckiest cricketer ever. He doesn't have the talent to make it to national side in any form of the game, still has been regular part of it & is now the T20 captain !

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    I just cant imagine this. nonsense. ridiculous tat he is made d captain..He is not a gr8 bowlder or a bat...he is in d team n gtg all these because of his dad..?Cant undrstnd d politics of removg collywood.. as skipper..a real fighter..sorry mate

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    when we call his name i just remind the only test cricket played bowler hit for 6 *6 in one over. not blasting him. if he was not SB surely be out from international cricket after that incident. but this guy was so lucky due to the influential power backed him. I cannot see any extraordinary qualities him to be a captain. But what to say it choice of ECB. my final worry is this man is still yet found as a bowler even. what these people are doing??????????????

  • Mike on June 25, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    It's defo a gamble having Broad as captain. However I put a lot of his recent poor form down to the fact he has had a fairly bad side injury to recover from. His limited overs bowling is actually his strongest suit, he could do with scoring some more runs though ! Be interesting to see how Samit Patel does as imo he is a very useful performer in the shorter format, I also expect big things from Chris Woakes this summer, he looks a very exciting prospect both with bat and ball.

    And while I expect the Lankans will be much stronger than they were in the Test series, I am just about going to favour England to win the 20/20 game and to take the 5 match 50 over series by 3-2.

  • VaRUN on June 24, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    As long as he doesn't try to stand on a cricket ball..or yell at umpires, or show dissent when give out ..or...well, you get the point...

  • Vaibhav on June 24, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    There seems to be no sense in making separate 50 over and Twenty20 captains. A whole series has a solitary Twenty20 game so the 50 over captain should ideally also take charge for the Twenty20. For that they need a player who plays both and I can think of Bell, Anderson and Swann as the possible candidates. Chris Broad is way below in the England's pecking order of seam bowlers and making him captain exacerbates that issue. Cook, who hasnt even been in the ODI team all this while must be given time to cement his place in the team rather than burdened with captaincy.

  • Ranil on June 24, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    I'm sure the responsibility of captaincy will make Broad a better man and good leader though on this occasion will end up losing to flamboyant Sri Lankans. Ranil Herath - Kent

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