England in India 2012-13

Saker admits to Broad concerns

Andrew McGlashan

November 27, 2012

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad warms up in a training session, Ahmedabad, November 13, 2012
Under pressure: It has been a difficult tour of India so far for Stuart Broad © AFP

David Saker, the England bowling coach, has admitted the form of Stuart Broad is "a bit of an issue" following two poor performances in Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Broad bowled 12 wicketless overs in the first innings of the second Test, amid reports he was suffering from a fever, and was not required when India crumbled to 142 against Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. That return followed a barren outing in Ahmedabad where his figures were none for 97 from 24 overs.

Broad entered the series having been limited to just 10 overs in the warm-up matches because of a bruised heel. He was under pressure for his spot heading into the second Test, but Steven Finn's thigh injury assured him another outing. His place is now under further scrutiny.

"It is a bit of an issue," Saker said. "He has not bowled as we would have liked. But he's not the first bowler to come over here and find it hard."

Saker said that Broad needs to find ways to adapt his game and suggested that his confidence had taken a hit with recent performances.

"Stuart's not a great, yet. He has to learn ways to become great," he said. "If he gets the next Test he has to be ready for it. During my tenure as bowling coach, I haven't had too many players down in confidence and form. I hope I can do some stuff over the next few days that can help."

Finn, meanwhile, is beginning his return from injury by playing for the England performance programme side in Mumbai over the next three days and Saker said he could be the missing link in the attack. "He's got that x-factor, a bit of pace, that height that always means you could get variable bounce over here - so his name will be bandied around for sure for that second seamer's spot."

It is far from assured, though, that Finn will be able to push Broad for a place in Kolkata. His return to action is tentative at best after his initial injury, picked up in the first warm-up match, was aggravated in training towards the end of the Ahmedabad Test. The next three days will make-or-break Finn's tour.

"We've got our fingers crossed he gets through, number one; if he gets through unscathed and bowls well, his name will definitely be talked about for selection," Saker said. "We were really confident he'd be right for this Test, so I'm not sure.

"I've just got my fingers crossed he gets through; if he does, we can make a decision. We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We want to make sure he gets through his three or four spells and gets some rhythm. Then his name will come up."

If Finn does not recover there are other pace-bowling options for England to consider in Graham Onions and the uncapped Stuart Meaker who was added to the squad as cover early in the tour. Onions would bring experience and a wicket-to-wicket approach, while Meaker has bowled with pace in the nets and has the ability to find reverse swing.

It has been a curious year for Broad - who is also England's Twenty20 captain - as he remains the most prolific pace bowler in Test cricket with 40 scalps at 31.70, one ahead of South Africa's Vernon Philander, despite inconsistent form. He began 2012 with impressive performances in the UAE before missing the second Test against Sri Lanka, in Colombo, due to injury.

He returned for the opening Test against West Indies at Lord's where he bagged a career-best 11 wickets but there was a lingering suspicion that he was not at the top of his game. He was rested for the final Test against West Indies, along with James Anderson, and he had a limited impact against South Africa where he only produced one telling spell, on the final day at Headingley.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (November 28, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

@TheLonelyisland on (November 27 2012, 18:07 PM GMT) There are 2 things here

1 - Broad may be looking sharper in the nets anyway 2 - Saker may have noted Broad's failings and reported them to Cook/Flower who have gone ahead and selected him anyway.

I think he'll be dropped next game anyway

Posted by hhillbumper on (November 27, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

time for a rest broady.Bowl in county cricket for a few weeks and get some practice against some lesser players.Oh no wait you can get that when the Aussies come

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 27, 2012, 20:07 GMT)

Broad should never play for England again. He is vastly overrated and his attitude is a disgrace.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 27, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 27 2012, 12:04 PM GMT) I'm not sure what the score is re bringing players in. I seem to recall that Woakes wasn't even in the performance squad which seemed ludicrous to many of us after the season he had with both bat and ball. Seems his face doesn't fit for some reason. As you know I'm a fan of 5/1/5 but with the bowlers we have out there on the pitches we've seen I'd stay with 6/1/4. If we were allowed to bring players in I'd bring Woakes and maybe Tredwell into the squad and have a 5 man bowling attack of maybe Jimmy,Finn,Tredwell,Swann,Monty with batting 6 basically being the top 6 we had in the last test with Patel dropping out and Prior moving up 1.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 27, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

@Charlie101 on (November 27 2012, 11:29 AM GMT) I'd say it's more his injuries and he is possibly reluctant to bowl at full throttle. He wasn't that bad in the T20WC. Re KP returning ,my guess is that the matter was much more complex than all of us realised and a word from Broad would have made little difference. I'd say Flower/ECB wanted to make a stance and having KP miss out on a comp and format he loves so much was the way they wanted to go and whatever Broad's opinion was would have made little difference. Also Swann/Jimmy were accused of bits from KP and his people. Jimmy has looked pretty ineffective whereas Swanny is bowling really well so I really don't see the KP saga as any issue related to Broad's form

Posted by TheLonelyisland on (November 27, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

Seems like cricinfo is not allowing me to reply so I'll try again.

davidpk a bowling coach is of paramount importance as he is the guy who is watching and studying a bowler's action to see dips in technique before they actually cost in a match (i.e, loss of swing with the old ball).

Completely agree that they should overhaul a bowler's action (unless guarding against injury) as was done with Peter Such if I remember.

It's very easy for a coach to relax into a role when so much good work has gone before him. I personally don't like the bit about him saying Broad should find ways to adapt his game, what the hell is Saker there for, a relaxing holiday!

I also love the fact we are all so keen to see Finn in action, someone who's been away on the county circuit during the english season, I guess you know where I'm going with this SamuelH

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 27, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

TheLonelyisland im not sure what you expect from an international bowling coach to make them better.at this level they can only tinker not overhaul the bowler. he got the best out off that squad of bowlers apart from the saffars series, and some appalling catching by the team did not help dropped amla 6 times in 3 tests along with others.troy cooley got alot of praise when he did the job but then went home to australia and could not do anything saying it was like flogging a dead horse.

Posted by Long-Leg on (November 27, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

I agree with most of the other comments here about Stuart Broad. He is a quality bowler who is under the weather and has lost form. I would seriously consider giving him the rest of the winter away from cricket. Let him go home, do some strengthening and fitness work in the gym and then bring him back with a point to prove against the Aussies.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 27, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

Broad, apart from Swann and Bell of course, is an extremely overrated test bowler with a terrible record. The inevitable slide to the bottom of the table continues for England.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 27, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

Clearly Broad's a quality bowler who doesn't travel well and who finds it difficult to adjust his lines to Indian pitches. A destroyer of the Aussies and Ashes hero he is, but he should be replaced by the world's fastest bowler, Steve Finn, for the next test.

Posted by SDHM on (November 27, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

@TheLonelyisland - with Saker in charge, England's bowlers dismantled Australia in Australia, took apart India's hallowed batting line-up, Anderson has become one of the best seamers in the world, and our pace bowling stocks have developed an incredible depth. The problem is not the coach. Tiredness maybe may have lead to loss of form, as have injuries, certainly in Broad & Bresnan's cases. The fact the fielders have been dropping catches left, right and centre doesn't help either. Mainly though, the seamers are just out of form. Flower & Cook now need to think about picking an attack that gives them the best chance of taking 20 wickets, as opposed to one that may also get them 100 extra runs. The fact that Broad is contributing neither, however, means his place in the side for Kolkata must be in doubt.

Posted by liz1558 on (November 27, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

Realistically, Broad should only play in the next Test if Anderson or Finn get injured. He has suffered a complete loss of form, inspiration, concetration, belief, and looks very very flat. His pace is right down to medium and there is no menace in his bowling. There's every chance that he will be back in place of Panesar for the NZ tour, when England go for 3 seamers and 1 spinner.

Posted by Harlequin. on (November 27, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

@Thelonelyisland - i'm with you on that one, our quicks seemed to have lost their bite. Having a look at the bowling records for 2012, it is strange how the supposed two best attacks in the world at the start of the year (Eng & SA) have some pretty poor averages and strike rates. Swann, Broad, Jimmy, Morkel, Steyn all averaging around 30+, with some pretty high strike rates as well - Jimmy's in fact @ 77!! He definitely needs a rest to get back to his waspish best!

Posted by TheLonelyisland on (November 27, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

I think long term I have concerns about David Saker. It isn't like our fast men have been taken to another level since he took charge, a bit the opposite I feel.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

David Saker would be better employed to prepare Stuart Meaker as he's the only truly fast bowling option, at present 15 mph quicker than SB, than mollycoddling the cotton-and-bubble-foam wrapped Stuart Broad. Heck, even Jonathan Trott's medium pacers seem a better option these days. Good points Charlie101!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 27, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

I do think that Broad still has plenty to offer England, assuming he can get back to his full pace, but maybe not right now. If he did have a fever then that might at least partly explain his poor showing in Mumbai and I'm sure his lack of preparation didn't help in the first Test, but I don't think that that's the full story. While you don't want to contribute to hurting someone's confidence by dropping them, England have a real chance in this series and really need to get their best XI on the park. It's really hard to see how that includes Broad at the moment. Given that the spinners will do the bulk of the bowling, you'd really like your seamers to come on and have an impact and, as much as it seems unfair to Onions, I'd say that Finn is the most likely to do that and, if he's not fit, then Meaker might provide the variety the attack could do with.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 27, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

If Finn is not 100% fit, I would bring in Woakes. If India are going to prepare another turner, bring in Tredwell and play 3 frontline spinners. People are going to say "oh but you're denting the batting..." - but seriously, I can only remember Broad/Bresnan contributing with the bat only once or twice in the last year, so what's the difference? One thing's for sure, Broad is struggling and even avid fans like JG2704 realise this. Try something new England! Even greats like Ponting and Tendulkar are going through a horrid patch... it happens in sports!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 27, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

Oh, I'm getting so tired of saying this! It's as plain as a pikestaff that Broad isn't right. His confidence is 'down' says Saker! (Tell us something we don't know, please!) Hardly surprising considering his nil-contribution to the series, two Test in! ( No, I'll change 'nil' to 'negative'). In other words, his very presence is an impediment to the team's performance & I'm sure that the Indian bats, so down on confidence themselves (exc. Pujara), if asked: 'Which of England's bowlers would you like to bowl at you?', wouldn't have to think too hard for an answer! The trouble is that England's management has a fixation with Stuart Broad; he's the v/captain & regarded as a world class performer. At the moment, he's not even of average county standard. There is a nettle to be grasped here & I cannot understand why Flower & Cook (& Saker) cannot grab it. Finn must play in Kolkata if his fitness is proved, if not, then Meaker, whose pace & reverse the Indians know little about, must play!

Posted by Charlie101 on (November 27, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

I do wonder with Stuart Broad if the turmoil with KP in the summer has affected him rather badly. Whilst he denied any involvment in the twitter account he certainly was one of the three with issues with KP and as T20 Captain you would think he might have fought to have the best T20 batsmen in the world in his squad - a T20 title would look good on his CV . In his shoes I would be thinking of the huge opportunity I have missed and would be feeling rather flat if not down in the dumps . Maybe the management understand this and hence gave him the VC job to bolster him ?? One thing is for sure , he is not right either physically or mentally as normally he is fine player with both ball and bat.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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