Afghanistan v England, World T20 2012, Group A, Colombo

Broad shrugs off shocking past

David Hopps in Colombo

September 20, 2012

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad attempts a sweep in the nets, World T20 2012, Colombo, September 20, 2012
Stuart Broad: "The shorter the game the more dangerous these teams are and Afghanistan aren't going to hold back with the bat. It will be important we keep our cool." © Getty Images

Stuart Broad needs no reminding of the shock of a World Twenty20 defeat against a minor nation as he prepares to lead England against Afghanistan at the R Premadasa Stadium. He bowled the final over in the first Twenty20 international ever staged at Lord's three years ago and fell to his knees and held his hands to his face in despair as Netherlands won the game off the last ball.

It was the sort of over that must still be scarred in his memory. Netherlands needed seven to win and as they scrambled five from the first five balls, Broad missed two fleeting run-out chances and a return catch. With two needed from the final ball, Edgar Schiferli hacked the ball back, Broad collected in his follow through but his throw missed once more and Netherlands grabbed victory with the overthrow.

For more scarring, consider Broad's previous experience in World Twenty20. On a balmy night in Durban in 2007, Yuvraj Singh struck him for six sixes in an over. As ball after ball disappeared into the night sky, it invited concern so early in his career that, at 21, he would ever fully recover.

Now here he is, sharp and confident, captaining England in a major tournament. England's coach, Andy Flower, has identified in him the sort of attributes he thinks a T20 captain needs: intelligence, quick-wittedness, a willingness to act on instinct, adventure and aggression. Broad's early cricket experiences might have destroyed him but he had too much dog in him to let it happen.

He agreed with the suggestion that adventure is part of his make-up, an example perhaps of how much more aggressively cricket would be played if more bowlers were made captain. "I like to take wickets and see wickets and chances," he said, "and I think in T20 cricket you have to risk a boundary to take a wicket. As a bowler I think I am more wicket-based than some.

"If someone wants to try to hit a spinner over mid-on, with the ball turning away from the blade, there is a chance of taking a wicket. I think with the heavies - myself, Finny, Jade, Bres - it is a great shot for someone to stand and belt us over mid-off from a heavy length so maybe keeping mid-off up is an option."

As Broad captains England in a major tournament for the first time, it will be intriguing to observe him. The desire to succeed burns within. Alastair Cook, who has replaced Andrew Strass as Test and one-day captain, is an equable sort who would benefit from a passionate vice-captain, officially or unofficially, and Broad can advance his candidature over the coming weeks.

Afghanistan revealed enough against India to warn England that they are immensely dangerous. Warm-up wins against Australia and Pakistan will count for nothing when Shapoor Zadran is flinging down his fast left-arm at close to 95mph or Mohammad Shahzad is unveiling his Dhoni-style helicopter shot.

"It's all about winning," he said. "It is a proud moment to lead England out any time you do and on a world stage it gives it an extra oomph as well but it will be down there with the biggest lows if we don't win.

"Any international you have to be on top of your game. Look at the times we haven't been. Ireland took us down in a 50-over game and the Netherlands took us down as well. The shorter the game the more dangerous these teams are and Afghanistan aren't going to hold back with the bat, put it that way. It will be important we keep our cool."

"In T20 cricket what you did in January is pretty irrelevant form-wise, let alone what you did two years ago. The game evolves so quickly. It's all about who turns up for the three weeks of the tournament" Stuart Broad

Broad talking of the need for people to keep their cool has a certain irony to it, but he has matured since those early days when everybody was on the lookout for the merest hint of petulance. A reputation for stroppiness is barely half the story; he has the ability to be charming and polite. As a cricketer, his batting has not developed and at times his bowling this summer was disturbingly down on pace, but he has shown a capacity to learn and, as his figures reveal , his ability to lift his game at crucial stages is undeniable.

As England's T20 captain, he also knows in every media conference he fulfils it will only be a matter of time before he is asked what he thinks of Kevin Pietersen (about two seconds on this occasion, which is par for the course).

It was a neat exchange.

Questioner: "What have you made of Kevin on the telly?"

Broad: "I've got this Formula One game at the minute. I'm a bit addicted to it, so I've not seen anything."

At last, against Afghanistan on Friday night, England will have reached the point where the situation is reversed: Pietersen, shunned by England, is to his great chagrin the TV pundit; Broad, his computer game safely packed away for a while, is the captain who must plan without him. The more appropriate question from now on is what Kevin Pietersen thinks of Stuart Broad.

Broad steeled himself to watch Afghanistan lose to India on the TV and, considering his history, there were enough times when Afghanistan came close to an upset that he must have been reaching out insecurely for his F1 game long before the end of the game.

England are in Sri Lanka as defending champions and ranked No. 1 in T20 cricket yet few people confidently predict that they can win the tournament, especially in the absence of You Know Who. Morale plays a high part in T20 and, as Jimmy Eat World once sung, Broad's young team are not about to life their live wondering; they are on their feet, on the floor and good to go.

"I don't think being defending champions puts added pressure on us," Broad said. "In T20 cricket what you did in January is pretty irrelevant form-wise, let alone what you did two years ago. The game evolves so quickly. It's all about which team turns up for the three weeks the tournament is on. It's very hard to pick a winner, a favourite. It's all about who turns up on that day. There are some exciting, strong teams around.

"I'll be captain for a month and it's brilliant. You get to know your players a lot better and get to see everything in a lot more detail. That's actually given me extra excitement because before this I didn't know loads about Jos Buttler or Danny Briggs. They come in and do things that excite you as a player. The important thing in a tournament is to have belief in your team-mates so to have a month together and see what guys do in training and games builds up that belief."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by SDHM on (September 21, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

A Jimmy Eat World reference from a cricket journo? Top stuff Mr Hopps.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

no matter afg will win or not. but i know they will show their hard work on the field as they have done against india

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

i do no consider broad a proper cricketer so i do not take him seriously therefore i havent red the article except for the headline and that definetely should be said. a professional fast bowler bowling at 140km should never ever ever conseed 6 sixes in 1 over, do you even know what the possibility of thiis happening is. it has never happened at any level of cricket, not even the fast bowlers of the minnows have experinced something close to such a nightmere i wonder if he sleeps

Posted by gsingh7 on (September 21, 2012, 13:52 GMT)


Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 21, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

@Ashwini Raju Kumar on (September 21 2012, 12:11 PM GMT), I don't really see how getting taken in an over reflects one way or the other on someone's ability to captain a side. There have been lots of people saying that Broad isn't fit to captain but I haven't seen anyone yet point to anything that has happened since he became captain to suggest that he's not doing a good job. Some have called him a cry-baby or the like but any behaviour that would suggest that to be the case happened years ago. If anyone has anything relevant to say about Broad's ability to captain the side right now then I'd love to hear it but I'm yet to hear anything of the sort. You'd think that if he really wasn't fit that someone could come up with something, wouldn't you?

Posted by jb633 on (September 21, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

So because he got hit for six sixes in an over in the meaningless format he should quit the game? By the way how did Yuvi fare in the series in England. Or maybe we are not allowed to talk about that. And for all those saying Swann is rubbish etc.. just look at the stats ( don't need any more justification). At the end of the day it will happen in the near distant future that one of the trashy Indian bowlers will go the distance.

Posted by akasavani on (September 21, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

Afghanistan is already better than Bangladesh in my opinion.

Posted by IndianROCKstars_2011_ODIchamps on (September 21, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

People are reading too much into Afghanistan batting against India. The reasons 1) Most of the players were hitting aerial shots and taking chances. The Indian fast bowling is not so great so they got away with many lucky strokes. England bowlers are better and it wont be as easy 2) Afghanistan is suspect to short bowling so expect at least 20 short bouncers. At least 2-3 wickets will go on these bouncers. If not 20 balls will be not scored on.That's a lot in T20. 3) England are current T20 World champs for a reason and that is they know tricks of the game well enough than Afghanistan .Obviously they wont loose to a minnow. If in past they have lost to a minnow ,tell me 1 country which has not lost to a minnow. No necessary history will repeat. Also England just recently bundled out Pakistan for 90 odd and in match against SA scored 100+ in 11 overs. Thats good form. Expecting miracles is fine but logically speaking India and England both will be in super 8 by end of day today.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

No matter what he says, those Six Sixes Yuvraj Singh hit off his bowling, he will never forget. Yuvraj singh destroyed & masscared him that night. Its a game. Nothing against Mr Broad, but he is not captain material.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

@RandyAlves where in this article does it say England think the six 6's was 'OK'?.....

Posted by Selassie-I on (September 21, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

@Pappu_bhai - Have you actually read the stats for Swann VS Chawla? Chawala's average is more that double Swann's and at a higher economy rate so I'm not sure how exactly you say he's better?(Swanny can bat too, as PC has never batted in a T20i, if we go by domestic then swann's average is higher) I'm not too sure how you have come to this conclusion? Swann is certainly not better than Amjal, I don't think you'll find many England fans claiming this, but he certainlyn is better than Chawala!

Posted by Selassie-I on (September 21, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

@krishindian - the Indian team always gives Minnows a chance? are you for real? no cricket team would risk goign out early for entertainment, and if they were to do such a thing do you not think it very insulting to the Afgans, to toy with them? personally I watched the whole match and thought that they looked a good outfit, with considerable potential and didn't need India giving them a chance, they made the chance themselves my friend! Good luck afganistan, hope we have a good game today!

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

hahaah the english think its okay for a professinal fast bowler to get hit for 6 sixes in an over, this still bothers me

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

@pappu_bhai Why do u hate Swann so much? In this era of post murali 'bowling', he is the kind of old fashioned off spin bowler that should be admired. Do you just hate him 'cos he's English? He's certainly entertaining when the ball is spinning away from left handers on a spinning track, so it's not that he's boring.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

I would rather have Swann in my team than any other spinner; in T20, 50 over and test matches. I like the spirit of the Afghans but England will win comfortably. Too much quality. It will be a very good tournament with all the top teams of beating each other on a particular day.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (September 21, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

Im quite surprised that Afghan are playing 2 games in a row (same with Zim). If they lose both (which is likely) then the 3rd game of the group match is really just another warm up as both teams know they will be in. If you take the Aussie group - they beat IRE so whatever the result in the AUS-WI match IRE will have a chance of going through so makes the last match worth watching. Effectively if Eng win this match then they are through and if not then they will get a second chance to make it.

Posted by colombo_SL on (September 21, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

@Mohammad Omid; Nice comment bro. Your team can win today. De Silva means, is him Aravinda de Silva?

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

It will be good match, why? bcoz Afghans are playing way better than Bangladesh, ireland and Zims...they have nothing to lose, lets just say, one or two of their batsmen spend some time on crease and belt English bowlers all around...this will dent ENGLISH players and they might choke a little. Having said that, cant take anything away from ENG, they are in supreme form and probably the best unit in last two shouldn't be too stiff of task for them at least till super 8. looking forward to this match :)

Posted by krishindian on (September 21, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

i thing i like to say is indian team treats every team as a high rated team and gives them confidence by giving them chances like it did against ireland and netherlands in icc cwc 2011 and also you saw it would have won very early against afghans but it did not because only indians want to treat even minnows as the strongest side by giving them chances and confidence so with wednesdays confidence i hope brother afghans win against english team all the best nawroz and co. hope you beat england

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (September 21, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

Heey ColomboSL:U desperatly want India to go out as India always beat SL and SL has no chance if India is there. So You want Afgan(U think its a minnow) and England(SL has defeted them for 10WKts in 2011-50 over WC) to reach super 8s so that u hope u can make repeat of the World cup2011 against this English.I am sure you can do it against English again.But Do u believe Your team is better than Afgan?Heey Man SL fails very badly against India and Afgan atleast had fought that means Afgan is better team than SL.SL fans will be happy if they are only playing in World cup so that they can win this time.Day dreams.Ha haa

Posted by sweetspot on (September 21, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

We're all proud of the way Afghanistan has come up the ranks and its players play. Just great to watch and a fantastic story no doubt. But Afghan fans should be patient. There will be some matches that look close, but in reality, T20 makes things appear closer than they actually are. A loss by 10 runs is like a loss by 30-40 runs in ODIs. Things get compressed. While Afghanistan will be able to pull off one or two upset wins, it will take some time for them to mature as a unit and consistently beat other more experienced teams. Please be patient with Navroz and Co. Enjoy their cricket and don't put pressure on them, please!

Posted by colombo_SL on (September 21, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

If England wins today, India definitely in the next stage. Otherwise their players have more works to do.

Posted by colombo_SL on (September 21, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

@Pappu_Bhai, Be far sighted lol. You better to pray for England's victory. Otherwise your chance of entering into next stage may be in real threat, because your margin of win is low with Afgan. (I'm much sure you pray for England's win today, looking at your team's performance). I wish win for Afghans!

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Thanks a lot everyone for nice and good comments about afghan team.

1 - I don't know it sounds funny but I feel today Inshallah Afghan team will make history by beating England team.

2 - some of you may not be agree with me but the Afghan team talked with the two great cricket players yesterday Gavaskar, de Silva which is something encouraging for them this gives me some hope that they will make history today Inshallah.

3 - Hope for a big win and a match in Super 8 Inshallah. good luck AFG

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (September 21, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Patchmaster:-->Piyush Chawla is better spinner than Overrated Swanny.So you are telling we can defeat Ausise even with Piyush?

Common Mate Swanny was lucky during Ashes and now his luck ran out.He is due hor a humiliation and will start disliking twenty-20 after this World cup.Watch it.

Also Plz note that this world cup will show where Swannys place is.As English spoke is he really better than Ajmal or As Indians Tell whether Piyush Chawla is better than Swanny?Prove it to the world Swann.Ha ha.We are waiting for swan fry for the world cup.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 21, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar on (September 21 2012, 04:16 AM GMT), as an England fan, I'm certainly not going to criticise any other team for poor fielding. Thankfully England's catching has been up to the mark in the warmup games but it was abysmal all summer in England and one of the primary contributors to their poor showing against SA.

Posted by Meety on (September 21, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

@BeReal87 on (September 21 2012, 01:13 AM GMT) - they truely have achieved a remarkable standard in less than 10yrs. From basically nothing to arguably the 9th to 12th best nation in the world. Love to see them get more opportunities soon!

Posted by Meety on (September 21, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

@Gizza on (September 21 2012, 03:13 AM GMT) - classic - loved the last sentence! Afghanistan have in Zadran (love the name, could he of been anything other than a fast bowler?), & Hamid two match winning pace bowlers, with genuine pace. This is something that Bangladesh & to a lessor extent Zimbabwe don't have. Afghanistan & Ireland, (IMO), MUST get Provisional Test status immediately.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (September 21, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

All the best Broady,the recent past has been really shocking for you and the team ,it will take some shrugging off... Unfortunately,the near future doesn't look that much promising either and better get prepared to endure further shocks and real distress for England which is as inevitable as Tomorrow.Hopefully,Your team doesn't plunge the depths of the past and occationaly put in competitive games against the minnow and lower ranked teams.Reducing the record number of series whitewashes like in the last year to more 'dignified' defeats will be a start. Meanwhile,don't expect any mercy from the unforgiving Aussies in the ashes who are going to revert to normal fare of savage thrashings of the Poms home and away.Only option is to keep your wits about you still...

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (September 21, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

I dont Believe ENgland can enter Super 8 this time as AFgan is in Form of his life.

Look how they have played against World Champions India.How can we expect a team which failed for 10 Wickets against SL in World Cup to perform better as India used to win Easily against SLans?

And Swann the most overrated bowler of this world.Afgan Plays Spin well as Ashwin was able to stop them with his intelligence only.I feel Afgan is going to smack Swanny all over the park and show his true ranking..........

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Afghans willl play well today against England,as well then Bangladesh & Zimbabwe,Afghan learned to much from past match with india,so i hope in this match afghan will not face to any mistake,,,,,,inshahullah Afghan will win this match

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (September 21, 2012, 4:16 GMT)

Afghanistan has no chance. Look at their fielding. Awful! You can't expect to win at this level with such horrendous fielding.

Posted by NFaiq on (September 21, 2012, 4:05 GMT)


Posted by Anil_Koshy on (September 21, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

Afghanistan has nothing to lose, they would be playing against the defending champions, if they perform the same way as they did against India will do a lot good for their confidence. Wishing all the best to team Afghans, ICC should do everything possible to support emerging teams like Afghanistan and Ireland.

Posted by Patchmaster on (September 21, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

@ RandyOZ, Swanny walk walk into the AUS side with one hand tied behind his back. I've never seen such average AUS spinners. Plus, I seem to remember Swanny making the AUS batsmen look pretty lame in the last Ashes, but Aus being such a poor team at the moment, maybe you're right, any spinner would look good against the AUS side right now. Anyway, how that talisman Greg Maxwell doing ? he he.....

Posted by adillove on (September 21, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

@Meety: Maybe we Afghans are not good in cricket yet because we are the newest international team of all but I'm sure that we can give England tough time and I assure you that not any of the English batsmen can hit six sixes of an over on our bowlers like Yuvraj did with your captain!

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 3:36 GMT)

Bangladesh's first and most important match in the tournament. Followed by a match where Peterson might be in the commentary box when Swann gets hit for a six. Good day for cricket!

Posted by Gizza on (September 21, 2012, 3:13 GMT)

@Meety, you never know. At least the Afghans prefer the pitches and weather compared to England. They could always spring a surprise. I think they will be a real force in the future. Better than Zim and Bang and won't have the problem of their best players being poached by a neighbour (I don't see Pakistan doing that).

Posted by Meety on (September 21, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

As an Ozzy, I will be laughing into my Beer should the Afghanis scalp the Poms! IF, Afghan does that, they should be given medals by our PM! LOL! Anyways, in reality, it is unlikely that they will win, but gee that will give a lot of ammunitiion for us Ozzys in the verbal jousting leading up to the Ashes! Great stuff!

Posted by BeReal87 on (September 21, 2012, 1:13 GMT)


Well thats very true the Afghans have a good bond and thats their greatest strength and also their natural self confidence and feeling of pride that they take to the game.

I remember samiullah shinwari in 2006 when i was in college and he used to tell me that he is playing for Afghanistan and one day he will be playing against India and Australia. It seemed laughable at that time with no infrastructure in Afghanistan and no one knew of cricket or afghan cricket. but 4 years later they were in Cricket world cup 2010. They really did something unbelievable, when there was not a single pitch in the whole country they still defeated many good teams with great resources and experience.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

afghans have some way to go, in batting they have to be more consistent and show the determination to last 50 overs, and be more careful about shot selection. In bowling they have a good allrounder in nabi and a couple of good bowlers. two more bowlers and they can be a decent bowling side. its too early to judge them on fielding, the pressure of the occasion might have got to them. some more exposure to playing good teams and afghanistan can be a competitive opponent. the best two developing teams at the moment are definitely afghanistan and ireland.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 0:43 GMT)

go afghans go !!! i need u to win this one !!

Posted by xylo on (September 21, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

England might overcome Afghanistan, and India, but are very likely to crumble against Sri Lanka, and South Africa. They have a 50-50 chance against Pakistan (not if their batting clicks) and Australia (not if David Hussey is playing).

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

i simply cannot figure out how the only bowler to be smashed for six sixers in one over in a t20 world cup happens to be the captain of the side now. ecb and its selectors. what a crew.

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 20, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

Broad is right up there with Bell and Swann as being the most overrated cricketers in England. You have to feel sorry for the likes of Jimmy Andersen who tries day in day out and gets no credit. These pretty boys are exactly why England has been in the doldrums for decades. And of course it also started with another mercenary Grieg.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 23:09 GMT)

I think Afghanistan has a really good team, if they sort out small small things, they can be an awesome team. Supporting of luck.

Posted by tatail on (September 20, 2012, 22:59 GMT)

@BeReal87, I had the exact feeling that will win against India and I still can't believe that they lost it in the last 5 overs. Any how, I am starting to believe in them more and more and every time I see them play my confidence in them gets higher and higher.. The only weakness that this England team has is that they are a nervous side, they are not as bonded as the Afghan team is right now and that might just workout in our favor.. Other than that, the English team has the talent, fitness and experience, which Afghanistan does not have, of course, yet the poses that raw power to upset England..

Afghans just believe and work hard. Inshah Allah, you will be tomorrow's champion.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

Come on my Afghan brothers! Played like tigers against India, had you fielded better you'd have won.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

No KP , No England . They will crash out early . KP is da man . And the ECB are stupid to not have adressed this in a better fashion .

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

If there's one upset I'm wishing for more than any other, it's this one. COME ON AFGHANISTAN!

Posted by SurlyCynic on (September 20, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

Have seen plenty of mentions of Shapoor Zadran's "95mph" bowling, but having watched the match I think this is a bit of an exaggeration. All his other balls were in the 130kphs, then suddenly one ball was clocked at 150, and it didn't look faster. Even the commentators said it must have been an error on the speed gun, which is not always reliable.

Posted by BeReal87 on (September 20, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

Come Afghans, you have already made us proud. Play the way you have played soo far. Just make sure to take the catches. I have the feeling you will win this one.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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