England news July 10, 2011

Broad and Bresnan fight for Test spot


Stuart Broad faces a vital week for the short-term prospects of his England place after being dropped for the deciding one-day international at Old Trafford on Saturday. His county, Nottinghamshire, have a Championship match against Somerset starting on Monday and Broad will need wickets to avoid being overtaken by Tim Bresnan.

It had been considered that Broad was so highly rated as part of the player-management structure within the England set-up that he would survive the axe, especially after finally opening his wicket tally with two scalps on his home ground at Trent Bridge. However, when England wanted to alter the balance of their team and include Samit Patel as a second spin option, it was Broad who made way with Jade Dernbach retaining his place.

Broad had been carrying a heel problem since the end of the Sri Lanka Test series and also hurt his ankle in training before the Twenty20 in Bristol, where he made his captaincy debut, but Alastair Cook didn't hide why the decision had been made.

"We wanted to play two spinners," he said. "We picked Jade ahead of Broady, and that's why we changed it. It doesn't mean that Broady won't come back in. It's obviously a tough pill for him to swallow, but his record in one-day cricket is outstanding. Just because he hasn't taken the wickets he would have liked doesn't mean he won't be back."

It was a view echoed by Andy Flower, the England team director, who added that the extra rest will benefit Broad and suggested that he was still very much in the planning to face India. "A nice by-product of him missing this game is that he will have a four-day break from bowling between the fourth one-day international that he played and the four-day game that he will play for Nottinghamshire," Flower said.

"After that he can have another four-day break to rest those niggles and then get into training for the Test match at Lord's. Broad's been a superb performer for us, a great competitor - and I foresee him doing great things for us in the future, both in this upcoming Test series and the one-day series."

The decision showed that Cook, in consultation with Flower, wasn't afraid to make tough selection decisions even if it involved dumping a fellow international captain. However, it is England's three-captain policy which continues to throw up intriguing situations, as it is now Andrew Strauss who will have a major say on Broad's place in the Test team.

While Broad is bowling at Trent Bridge - a good venue for a seamer to try to regain form and confidence - other contenders for his place will be looking to stake their claims. At the head of the list are Bresnan and Steven Finn, the former who made a successful return from injury during the one-day series with eight wickets at 29 including 3 for 49 at Old Trafford while Finn was in the one-day squad without playing. Chris Woakes, the Warwickshire allrounder, also couldn't get a game but he's some way off Test selection at present.

"We wanted to try out a couple of new fast bowlers," Flower said. "Jade Dernbach has got his chance in this series, but we also had Steven and Chris in the squad. I think they've both got a future. There is a lot of competition for fast-bowling places. We'll see how they develop over the next couple of months. Whether they get a go in the Tests or not, I'm not sure, but I think they've both got futures in the limited-overs game."

Yorkshire have a Championship match against Worcestershire which will allow Bresnan some extended spells of bowling after his one-day return, but Finn doesn't have a four-day game available with Middlesex not in Championship action. It was the situation that forced Strauss to ask Somerset if he could appear for them against India later in the week.

Finn was the next in line when a replacement was needed against Sri Lanka, at Lord's, but at that time Bresnan, who was outstanding at Melbourne and Sydney during the Ashes, was still on the sidelines. Finn was inconsistent at his home ground but still finished the match with four wickets.

Away from Bresnan and Finn, the other option could be Graham Onions if England wants a wicket-to-wicket bowler. Again, though, the scheduling isn't helpful for Onions - who missed the whole of last season with a severe back injury - as Durham aren't in four-day action before the first Test.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    what is broad doing as abowler he is not getting any swing nor ne movement off d deck he should b dropped .breshnan is far more better.I dont know y these english rate themselves so highly.k they might have done well in recent past but just considering that thay cant claim that they can beat india .i ve heard that tremltt has done well vs srilanka but if u look at that team xcept for mahela and kumar not many r experienced and our batting line up is d best in d world with gautiand viru opening ,sachin at no3,rahul@4,vvs at 5 dhoni i at six and either raina or yuvi at7folowed by bowlers .and when it comes 2 bowling with Zak,sreeshant will b k as he swings d ball at pace and ishant with and bounce is not too bad either.This series might end up in draw or Indian win not england .

  • Anver on July 13, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    Considering the current form i think Bresnan is confident & is a better choice than Broad in tests......Broad need to play county matches & boost his confidence before the IND series !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Giles on July 13, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Can anyone tell my why Shazad isn't in the running any more ? He had a great attitude and bowled really well, I know he was injured but what's his status now ? I think he deserves a comeback.

  • Andrew on July 13, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    @Saif Khan - which Ozzy side are you comparing? Oz did morph quite a bit but by 2005 I can tell you that the openers are about even - although Hayden & Langar did well EVERYWHERE, whereas as Gambhir as impressive as he is - has a limited resume outside of India (could easily rectify this). Ponting at the very least is the equivalent of Dravid in batting terms - most people without bagging Dravid would agree that Ponting has been or is better than Dravid. Tendulkar v Clarke - um yes India, Martyn v Laxman I'd take Martyn (I admire/dread Laxman)! Symonds v who? - I'd take Symonds - & Gilly is definately superior to Dhoni in many different ways including stats-wise! Gilly was vice captain around 2005 as well. So I totally disagree that India have a better line up then what Oz had in 2005, India have the best batting line up in the CURRENT world order! I expect India will do much better then what the Sri Lankans did & I a expect Sharma to step up, but I think England 2-1 in a great series!

  • Martin on July 12, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    @HatsforBats; I DO compliment Aussies and have done many times on here... The fiercest opponents. The beautiful thing (of the many beautiful things) about that 2005 Ashes, was that Australia were good, really ****ing good, and England were good enough to beat them. This current 2011 England team is better. Turning to quantum @CandidIndian; no, cockiness isn't involved - just an eye for the facts. @Saif Khan; "Gilchrist was better than Dhoni is now". Somewhat! IMO Adam Gilchrist was one of the greatest players of all time. See @Hatsfor Bats - proof.

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    All the English supporters are underestimating indian bowlers. They did well in SA barring first test. Zak is very good with both new and old ball. Ishant is coming off after a good series against WI. Praveen & sree will be handful in these swinging conditions. With all due respect to the english side they are performing very well in the last 2 years. But have they won any match coming from behind? the answer is no. On the other hand India have won test matches even after conceding more than 400 runs against Aus & Sl. Eng did drew some close matches against aus & sa, but they never won. They did win ashes but all the time they had first use of the wickets and they had huge totals to attack Aus. So what if it becomes other way around in this series? It will be interesting to see swann against Indian batsman. He will get wickets but it wont be enough to clinch a win. If India survives Lord's test, then they can win 2-1 otherwise it will be 1-1. Can't wait for the series to begin

  • Gaurav on July 12, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    5wombats-We(Indian fans) have great respect for England and their recent achievements , but since you are being cocky,you should know that Poms have not beaten India in tests let alone series since 2005, that is 6 years.Last two series have gone in favor of India.If English team is thinking the same way as you are,that is completely writing us off with no respect whatsoever then our team is in advantage here.

  • kieran on July 12, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    @Meety: Bresnan might be more effective relative to his test career so far, but I've certainly never seen anyone bowl a heavier ball than Flintoff. His physicality was his biggest asset and, sadly, probably the cause of his premature retirement. @Saif Khan: Do you honestly think Dravid is a better no.3 than Ponting? Not sure how many people would agree with that. As for Dhoni, come on, Gilchrist was and will always be considered a better wicketkeeper/batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    @Vacant_slips; I agree that India's team is not as good as the 2005 Aussies (how many in history have been?) but their batting is way better. Comparing the batting order; The openers are about equal in terms of skill, Virender Sehwag is probably better than Hayden or Langer while Gambhir is getting up there. Nos 3 and 4 go to India without doubt and with Laxman at 5, this position goes to india as well. Gilchrist was better than Dhoni is now, but remember that he is the captain as well. Anyway my point is that that Aussie side probably had the best allround bowling attack in history (the 1980s WI didnt have a spin bowler), so thats why they were better...

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    @ Pradeep Kumar and the rest of the England haters:

    Why can you not give England credit where credit is due? They are the T20 champions, they beat Australia in consecutive ashes tournaments and they have some of the best batsmen and bowlers in the world. To even be in the position they are now with the number 1 spot open for grabs is a massive achievement. If you had looked at England 2006 to 2008 you see a completely different side to today's version. They understood why they were failing and they fixed it. They stopped hitting the gym so much and started hitting the pitch more. They started attacking the stumps and leaving the ball; hitting bat deliveries and bowling good players. Whether you think so or not, England have a very good chance of beating India in England. India on the other hand are a fantastic team, but it is high time that people realised that they are not invincible. I think the series will be close but in my opinion England will prevail 2-0.

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