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July 2, 2007
When England won the Ashes in 2005 they had a powerhouse fast-bowling attack of Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones. However, those four haven't taken the field together since the victory at Trent Bridge that summer and the odds on it reforming are slim. Flintoff is recovering from further ankle surgery and there is still no return in sight for Jones after more knee problems.
England have found it difficult to replicate their success since the attack started to fragment with a host of bowlers being handed chances. Broad has always been highly rated around the England set-up, making his debut against Pakistan at the end of last season, and spent the winter developing at the Academy before a late call to join the World Cup squad in West Indies.
"In time, I think we should be able to form a similar unit to the one that England had in 2005," said Broad after England had moved to Edgbaston to prepare for Wednesday's second match. "Those guys like Harmy, Hoggy and Fred are still around and it is great learning from them, but we also want to push them.
"The good thing about England at the moment is that there are a lot of guys capable of playing international cricket and you really need that depth if you're to be successful. International cricket and Test cricket in particular is hard and you are going to get injuries but, if you've got a strong pool of players to pick from who can all come in and do a job, well that can only be a good thing for English cricket."
But for an untimely knee injury at the start of the current season, Broad could have made his Test debut against West Indies, especially when Hoggard pulled up after Lord's. Ryan Sidebottom took his chance with both hands and Broad now wants to use this one-day series to make a similar statement.
"Look at Ryan, who came in to the side and made the step up to become a regular," he said. "He's come in and put pressure on the bowlers in and around the team and I think that is a good thing.
"We've got the makings of a young bowling unit coming together and we have to keep working hard and learning from the senior guys, but trying to put them under as much pressure as we can by taking wickets when we get our chances.
"My outlook is that when you're under pressure then that is when you play your best cricket. You've got no choice but to perform to keep your place and I find that brings out the best in me."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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