England in India 2012-13 November 27, 2012

Saker admits to Broad concerns

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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