England in India 2012-13

Broad's Test place in the balance

George Dobell

November 27, 2012

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad got through ten overs but suffered a heel problem, Mumbai A v England XI, 2nd day, Mumbai, November 4, 2012
David Saker said Stuart Broad had to learn how to survive in Indian conditions © Getty Images

David Saker, the England bowling coach, has admitted Stuart Broad's performance in Mumbai "wasn't up to scratch" and provided the biggest hint yet that he will struggle to keep his place in the team for the third Test in Kolkata.

Broad has yet to take a wicket in the Test series against India and, since the start of June, has taken 11 Test wickets, eight of those at Headingley against South Africa, at 54.00.

With Steven Finn returning from injury to take 4 for 50 in the England Performance Programme match in Mumbai and England now committed to playing two spinners in the rest of the series, it is hard to see how Broad can be accommodated.

Saker accepted that conditions in India were tough for seam bowlers like Broad, but urged him to "front up" and learn from the example of fast bowlers who have achieved success on such wickets.

"He's finding it tough, no doubt," Saker said. "I don't think he's the first fast bowler to come over here and find it tough. It's another great learning curve for him. Bowling fast over here isn't easy and you have to find a way to survive. The really great bowlers always have. You don't just say the fast bowlers are going to have no influence - a defeatist attitude like that is not accepted. We've got to have a look at the way bowlers have done it over here and try your best at replicating that.

"He's learning it the hard way at the moment and it's probably not going the way he'd like it to go. His confidence is probably not as high as he'd like but this place can really dent your confidence quickly. As a fast bowler you want to see a few balls zinging through to the keeper and it's hard to do that here. He's finding that difficult but it's something he will learn from and hopefully become a better bowler for it.

On Tuesday, Broad tweeted that he had lost 5kgs over the last week after reports during the Test that he was suffering from illness, but Saker did not want to look for excuses.

"I think he had a little bit of an illness but once you cross the line you're a hundred percent. His performance wasn't up to scratch but that happens over here," he said. "It's a tough place to bowl fast. He's had a little bit of a break, he needs to front up and find out what's the best way to go about it over here.

Broad certainly appears to have fallen behind Finn and James Anderson in the pecking order. Although Anderson has only claimed two wickets in the series to date, Saker was hugely impressed by his performance in Mumbai and conceded that, if Finn came through the EPP game, he would prove hard to ignore.

"He's finding it really difficult to get his head around changing the way he bowls. You can bowl fourth stump nearly everywhere in the world but if you go wide of the stumps here you get hurt." David Saker on Stuart Broad's struggles

"Jimmy was outstanding here," Saker said. "It was as good as I've ever seen him bowl and he could have had a few more wickets if things had gone his way.

"Finn has been monitored the last few days and if he gets through this game with the Lions squad there's a good chance he might play in Kolkata, without a doubt. He's a special talent and has the pace we probably need for this place. We'd like to get him in the team.

"If he can get through that game there's no doubt he'll come into the selection picture. We thought he was on target for the Mumbai Test. I was very optimistic he could play, and that backfired so we don't want to get ahead of ourselves this time. We want to see him bowl 20 overs and take some wickets.

"It would have been an interesting selection call if he'd been fit here. We obviously made the right call with the two spinners so one of the fast bowlers may have had to miss out and both Stuart and Jimmy have played well up to now. We would have had to make a call on that and we'll have to make a call for this one, for sure, if Finn is fit."

Saker rejected the idea that Broad had lost pace over the last few months, suggesting that the issue was more a failure to react to the conditions in India and a subsequent loss of confidence.

"I don't think it's a matter of pace," Saker said. "He came back from injury at the World Twenty20 and bowled at good pace and I thought in the warm-up games and in the first Test he bowled at a good pace.

"I just think he's lacking a bit of confidence and finding it really difficult to get his head around maybe changing the way he bowls. Here you have to change it a bit. You can bowl fourth stump nearly everywhere else in the world but if you go wide of the stumps here you get hurt. We did discuss that before this trip, how bowling straight is crucial, and we watched as lot of footage of the teams who have come here and done well, Australia, South Africa and even the West Indies who came out here not long ago, bowled straight and had some success.

"He probably just hasn't played that well in these two Tests. Maybe he's looking for something that just isn't there as well. He's asking a lot of questions that probably don't need to be asked."

Saker also hinted that recent weeks have provided him with his biggest challenge while working with England. "I've been blessed in that I haven't had to do a lot of hard yards up to now as a bowling coach but now, with Tim Bresnan and Stuart of late, we've had to have some good talks and maybe some tinkering with actions. At the end of the day we still have to keep the game as simple as we can."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Chesty-la-roux on (November 30, 2012, 2:07 GMT)

JG2704 You can consider dropping a guy because there is a better alternative available. It does not matter one iota how well swan may be playing, the simple fact of the matter is he is not the best spinner england have available. Swan may well have strung together a couple of decent innings, but he was comprehensively out performed by englands "second" spinner in the last match, and indeed has been out performed by englands "second" spinner in 6 out of the 7 matches this year in which they have both played. The improvement in team harmony that his omission will undoubtedly bring can be no bad thing either.

Posted by philter73 on (November 29, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

@JG2704... I agree put Swann up the order - he can bat at 8 in Indian conditions. Perhaps it would add to his batting responsibilty. I always feel he doesn't think he has to do well with the bat - when in fact when it's not swinging I reckon he's OK.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 29, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

@ MartinC on (November 28 2012, 04:50 AM GMT) But what did the tail with so called all rounders Bres and Broad do in the first match? I'd rather have 4 bowlers who are most likely to penetrate the Indian side even if they don't score a run between them. I might also be in the minority of 1 here but I rate Swann as better with the bat than Broad and Bres and reckon if he batted at 8 (where he would have more chance of batting with proper batsmen etc) I think he'd do a job

Posted by JG2704 on (November 29, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (November 29 2012, 03:45 AM GMT) Fair points but also Eng may have had Broad above Swann as one of their top 2 bowlers. In the rankings Broad was above Swann last time I looked. Not saying that means anything but maybe that's how Eng see it. Also Swann is getting on a bit so maybe Eng wanted a younger vice captain to come through with Cook. Still think it was not the best decision and it's harder to find resons why Prior shouldn't be vc than should be vc

Posted by zenboomerang on (November 29, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

@JG2704... My comment on Broad not being in the 2 top bowlers was meant as Jimmy & Graeme being the top 2 (& possible VC candidates)... For me, Prior is a no-brainer as the VC - I think most see that Matt is a central player in the team, vg wicketkeeper & batsman, reads the game well & is the first to step in when team mates need support on & off the field... There must be some underlying reason Broad is VC - more responsibility? game focus? team building? - but I just don't get it... For me I want someone that gives the most to the team & is universally respected by team mates & the public... Bit slow repying, getting over the "drive lag" getting back home from Adelaide...

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (November 28, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

I would largely agree with Village on selection here, Patel did seem unfortunate with decisions in the first test and looked ok in the last test. If the next wicket is less responsive to Monty, Swann then his tight bowling (as in 1st test) is very useful and also use KP. If fit Finn is a must for Broad, he has been a weak link for a while now and maybe being dropped would be the shot in the arm he requires, regardless Finn is a better option as a wicket taker, lets not forget he was the leading wicket taker in the last Ashes before being dropped for being a tad expensive. I like Compton from what I've seen and think Jonny is a long term star and keep him in as the experience is invaluable. All in all I am optimistic rather than expectant for the series, I think we might nick it but lose the ODI's and be inundated with posts fronm the sub-continent saying that and IPL is the true measure of cricket Yaaawn. ps. So much for the ill fitting title of 'Revenge Series', so anti-cricket.

Posted by SDHM on (November 28, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

@o-bomb - couldn't agree more. Arguably should never have been picked for Tests in the first place as there were better options at the time, but I've harped on about that enough on the county blogs this season! He was told after his horror show in the UAE to go away & score first class runs - well, he only played 5 games for Middlesex & averaged 18. Granted it was a difficult season for run-scoring, but that's a fairly abysmal effort. I get the feeling he was given a Central Contract as England panicked in the wake of KP's enforced retirement, feeling the need for an expansive player in the middle order. Basically, in the KP fracas hadn't happened, he wouldn't have one. Definitely one of most valuable, if not our most valuable, limited overs batsman, but keep him out of Tests until he proves himself in the Championship.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 28, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

Wondering if they've taken any notice of Root's inns - albeit vs a mediocre side. As someone else said , he can bowl a bit of offspin too - Patel has not looked great bowling so can he be any worse. Also batting is better practice than changing nappies

Posted by valvolux on (November 28, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

While I've been calling this guy out as useless his whole career...I was saying so knowing that england would never drop him and that the Aussies would enjoy being able to spank around at least one bowler at will, like they have done the last 2 ashes against broad (save one spell in a cloud heavy swinging seaming afternoon at the oval any man could make the ball talk). God help us in the next ashes if they finally paper over this loop hole. His career should end here really. South Africa spanked him all over the park (until the series was decided), Australia spanked him all over the park at home and away (his injury in oz single handedly won england the ashes). His one ton came in a series that was marred with cheating...and his one decent series against India england were blessed with the better bowling conditions. If the clouds aren't around, this guy serves nothing but pie after pie. Opposition teams will miss him. Worst new ball bowler in world cricket.

Posted by dailycric on (November 28, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

i think that stuart broad is the most obnoxious and overrated cricketer in the world today. if he was not chris broad's son, he would have had match bans by now. i hope for india's sake that he plays, but people like him disgrace a great game.

Posted by xylo on (November 28, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

If Broad is being dropped, I am hoping that he will get to know that via twitter. But then, the English team selection has always been on merit, plus Stuart Broad. So, I expect him to continue to be in the XI.

Posted by o-bomb on (November 28, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

I agree that Broad needs to be dropped for the time being. If Finn is fit then he seems the ideal replcement. I don't understand why so many people want to see Morgan in the team. His performances against spin in the UAE (not just against Saeed Ajmal, but against Abdur Rehman too) were abysmal and he's not shown great form for Middlesex this year. I was surprised when he was named on the tour. I would keep Bairstow in as he needs to be given a proper run in the side - something Morgan was given and he only managed to average just over 30. If he wants to get back in the team he needs to earn his place. I don't feel he's done that.

Posted by philter73 on (November 28, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

I do think Broad should be given a rest for a bit if Finn is fit. Finn has bowled well in India before (in the ODI's). I do think Patel should retain his place in favour of Morgan because I think he has a slightly stronger defence against spin (still not ideal though).

Posted by TheFridge31 on (November 28, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

Cook Compton Trott KP Bell Patel Prior Swann Anderson Panesar Finn

Posted by jb633 on (November 28, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

David Saker must know that this is an issue of pace. I mean since the beginning of our summer in 2012 Broad has been struggling to breach the low 80's. He has effectively been bowling lollipops for 6 months now and his dismal performance in the last two tests is hardly surprising. In some ways the conservative selection policies are a credit to the ECB but against the top sides you need the flair players. Plain and simple you need someone with pace. We have been struggling for 3 series now with lack of pace and I think it is high time that we give Finn an extended run in the side. Reverse swing will only come if you bowl high 80's and if a seamer is to be successful here you need reverse swing. In England it is a different proposition. Similar to batting in England. I often feel we should pick two seperate sides, one to play in seamer friendly conditions and one for spin. I mean what has Bell done to justify his immediate inclusion for the 3rd test? His record in Asia is dismal.

Posted by scottnye on (November 28, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

Finn must come in for Broad - far more likely to take wickets.

I would swap Bell for Bairstow and bring Morgan in for Patel - as a few others have said, a good player of spin, slightly unorthodox and rotates the strike well. And he is a good sweeper. A ruthless slection committee would probably drop Trott and put Bell at 3, with Morgan at 5 and Bairstow at 6. But he will be given another chance.

I dont worry about weaking the lower order as they are not likely to score many runs against India's spinners anyway. It's not like Broad has scored any runs recently anyway.

My team would be:

Cook, Compton, Bell, KP, Morgan, Bairstow, Prior, Swann, Finn, Anderson, Panesar.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 28, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

a good bowler who most teams would want as a player, any bowler with 50+ tests and 170+ wickets would want. its just that hes not bowling with any vim or vigor and if your bowling coach is publicly saying it, then its worrying. any fans of any up and coming fast bowlers of other countries would wish they have a similar record at this stage of their career.

Posted by imrankhan76uk on (November 28, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

Broad is out of form and should be rested (for 6 months atleast) and replaced by Finn (if fit) or by Onions. I rate Onions as much better wkt taker than Bresnan. Other possible change is to get Morgan in the team...being a left hander and ask him to play more of dasher inings at No.7.... just my opinion :))

Posted by EdGreen on (November 28, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

I'd push all out for a 3-1 victory - that means maximum wickets and taking a punt on guys who've shown promise.

1 Cook 2 Compton 3 Root 4 Pietersen 5 Bairstow 6 Patel 7 Prior 8 Swann 9 Meaker 10 Finn 11 Panesar

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Never be afraid to wield the selectorial axe as long as it doesn't result in 80s and 90s style chop-and-changing. Broad needs some time out to get his bowling back in order and being dropped should focus him to work out what he should be doing, get motivated and force his way back in. All the successful England players in the last 10 years have had to spend time out of the side when their form drops but the opportunity to return should remain.

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 28, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

@ Martin C, completley agreed. I'm always loathed to change a winning team but Broad, on current form, does deserve to be dropped. It's happened to other players and they come back stronger. His pace is suffering so maybe he does need a nice rest - let him have the rest of the winter off and see what he's doing early season in the counties. Finn can come in and bell back for patel to support the batting, he's a much better fielder than patel too. We've got patel in as an all rounder but he's not bolwing really, so just give trott and KP a couple of overs if we need.

Prior should always have been VC, this change should be made.

Posted by richardror on (November 28, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

Don't understand why Broad was given the Vice Captaincy. I think Matt Prior would have been perfect for the job, and should Broad be dropped Prior should get it on a permanent basis.

Posted by richardror on (November 28, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy - I agree with all except would like to see Morgan in place of Patel. An excellent player of spin in ODI cricket who does what England batsmen often don't do - rotate the strike.

Posted by Long-Leg on (November 28, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

@SamRoy: You are forgetting that for a period of about a year Steve Harmison was the No 1 fast bowler in the world. At his best, he could destroy any batting line up in the world. Unfortunately, he faded quickly and didn't often tour well. Finn is the real successor to Harmison. He has all Harmison's good qualities without any of the drawbacks. A very exciting talent.

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Broad is a law of averages bowler. Play him in enough matches and hell eventually take wickets. There is nothing that proves his 'potential greatness' to me. And the worst part is, hes keeping much better bowlers out of the team. Last time i checked players have to perform on a regular basis(at the very least) to warrant their place in the team. Drop Broad, send him to county cricket where he can learn to bowl, and replace him with Finn(if fit) or Onions.

Posted by Shibananda on (November 28, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

1 Cook 2 Compton 3 Trott 4 Pietersen 5 Bell 6 Morgan 7 Prior 8 Swann 9 Anderson 10 Finn 11 Panesar

Posted by JG2704 on (November 28, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

@Clifford Adams on (November 28 2012, 05:44 AM GMT) That's an uncalled for comment. No one knows exactly what went on re KP and Broad was cleared of having anything to do with the Twitter account. He should be dropped on form but nothing to do with the KP saga which some seem to want to dredge up again.

@Chesty-la-roux on (November 28 2012, 02:57 AM GMT) Cross that bridge when it happens. Seems there's another agenda here as Swann is bowling really well at the moment and shouldn't even be considered for being dropped. Don't really see why you can even think about dropping a guy who has taken 13 in 3 inns

Posted by JG2704 on (November 28, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

@ZB - Yeah probably a bad decision there. Maybe Broad was one of the top 2 bowlers when they made the decision but you want an ever present as your number 2 and Broad's injury record meant that was never likely to be the case. Prior is such an obvious choice as (apart from his leadership qualities and the respect he has from his team mates and the fact that he is always close to the action) he is the one player who every fan wants in the side.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (November 28, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

@martinC... very rosy specs u have on there ref Ian Bell... Bell has not scored a ton for Eng for 18months... and came home with an AVE of 8 vs spin recently and was predictably non existant in the tour games... S Patel scored a ton very recently in a warm up match in India, admittedly not vs the best attack but it is a ton in India where Eng are currently playing, & he had 2 rubbish decisions in the first test and a useful 50 partnership with KP in the last... Bell was non descript as usual in the first test, and should never have been picked whilst he left the ground early obv dreaming of changing nappies, and still will be on his ridiculously too-soon return. Do not change a winning team is a must, and JB is the brave future not a serial under performer bell (unless it's vs B'desh). Drop Broad and leave bell out.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 28, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

1 Cook 2 Compton 3 Trott 4 Pietersen 5 Bell 6 Patel 7 Prior 8 Swann 9 Anderson 10 Finn 11 Panesar

Anyone disagree?

Posted by yorkslanka on (November 28, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

I think it would be the right decision to leave him out ..he is not the player he used to be. If he is fit then Finn should replace and if not then onions as his skiddy action will benefit England IMHO. Also, although I am a fan of his,I think Patel should be dropped for Morgan as he is not really doing enough to warrant his place -despite his warm up match scores..England have to go for he win and therefore the series if they can draw last game...

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

If he gets deservedly dropped, he will rise again, no doubt because he is still a 'youngster'. He has great proven talent. May be the KP-saga has been too much for him. The saying is what goes round, comes round.

Posted by SamRoy on (November 28, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Broad is and always will be the next Harmison. Nobody except England will see too much talent in that guy. Whereas Steve Finn alongside Pattinson and Starc from Australia; Boult, Southee, Bracewell from NZ and Umesh Yadav from India are the best fast bowling prospects for the future. I just hope Mohammad Amir has learnt his lesson and comes back and claims his rightful place as the best as no one in the above mentioned list has half the talent he has. I love good cricket more than anything else. For the sake of cricket we require Amir back. He has the talent to be an all-time great.

Posted by MartinC on (November 28, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

If Finn comes through this warm up game with no reaction bringing him in for Broad is a no brainer. However that gives us a tail of Swann at 8, Anderson at 9, Finn at 10 and Monty at 11.

To balance that I would bring Bell in for Patel and move Bairstow to 6.

Posted by landl47 on (November 28, 2012, 4:03 GMT)

Broad seems to have gone backwards in all phases of the game. His batting hasn't come on, or even stayed at the same level, and his bowling doesn't have the rhythm and fire it had in 2011. He had one good test against the WI and one against SA and that's it recently. I've been a big supporter of his, but I think the time has come for him to take a step back and work on getting back to his best away from the test arena. Luckily England isn't short of quality seamers to take his place.

Posted by Meety on (November 28, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

Broad is a noose around Cook's neck. ATM - he can't bat, can't bowl! Finn will do better, U'd select Bresnan before Broad anyday.

Posted by Chesty-la-roux on (November 28, 2012, 2:57 GMT)

It's been a long time coming. On tracks where two spinners cannot be justified there is little room for Swann in the squad either. Those two omissions would go a long way towards creating the dressing room harmony which has been lacking for so long and which has seen Englands test ranking into freefall.

Posted by Sinhaya on (November 28, 2012, 1:03 GMT)

Sad to see Broad's batting form also decline after I saw him bat with Trott at Lords in 2010 to post the world record 8th wicket partnership in tests. Well better play Finn as Broad is out of form at the moment and unable to contribute with the bat too.

Posted by zenboomerang on (November 28, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

Made this comment before, but you cannot have a bowler who isn't in the top 2 bowlers in the team being made VC & this is the dilemma that the ECB have created - an unsettled leadership group... On recent form Finn deserves the no.2 seamers job, while I'd have Onion there for first backup - even Monty's recent batting has been as good as Broads recent form ;) ... Matt Prior should have been given the VC job & should be given the permanent job now...

Re: Sakers comment - I could be wrong, but Broads speed does look down from 1-2 years ago (5-10kph)... His effort balls now seem more like his old (2yrs ago) slower balls - maybe its the technology as even the Saffa & Oz bowlers seem to be down a bit on pace?...

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 27, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

People like Broad usually gain from being dropped. Many have come back far better players.

Posted by jacoblrfc on (November 27, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

Personally i feel Broad has to go, he would be the only change in the team from the second test, either replace him with Bell, to add to the batting if the pitch is similar; or Finn if the pitch won't turn as much. If its a similar pitch then theres no point having another seamer (other than Anderson) since they wouldn't bowl any overs. You will always have Patel in backup, along with part timers Pietersen and Trott. Although if a seamer is required, then a fully fit Finn must be first choice.

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