England admit Broad injury concerns
The England national selector, Geoff Miller, has admitted there are concerns over the fitness of Stuart Broad, England's Twenty20 captain, and that a time may come when he cannot be part of the side in all three formats of the game.
Broad, who flew home early from the Test series in India with a heel problem, is due to link up with the England squad ahead of the final two one-day internationals, but is considered unlikely to play either of those matches. A more realistic target for his return is the Twenty20 series in New Zealand, which starts on February 9.
That, however, is admittance that Broad's recovery from the heel problem that plagued him during the Test series in India has not gone as smoothly as hoped. Broad is visiting a kit specialist in Germany this week to be fitted with customised boots aimed to alleviate the problem on his left heel, which takes the brunt of the force during his delivery stride.
"The concern is that there have been two or three niggles that have affected his form and availability," Miller told reporters in India. "Anybody with an injury is a concern to us and we've got to manage workloads as best as we can, that's why we're continually looking at other players. We will look at it and make sure he's used in the best possible way for English cricket. He knows that."
The rotation of players during a packed international schedule is now a major talking point, particularly in Australia, and England are currently using such a system during the one-day series in India, with James Anderson and Jonathan Trott also rested. It is likely, too, that certain key players will be given periods off during the upcoming home-and-away Test series against New Zealand.
However, ruling a player out of a format completely, unless that is a decision taken by the player concerned, is a drastic option and one that Miller hoped Broad will not have to contemplate.
"At this moment of time we're not thinking about taking him out of a format because he's got that sort of quality, but if we reached the stage where his body wasn't responding to all kinds of cricket then we're open to that."
Although Broad finished 2012 as the fourth-highest Test wicket-taker among quick bowlers, with 40 wickets at 31.70, his form tailed off in the second half of the year against South Africa and India. He had earlier been rested from the one-day series against South Africa, led England at the World Twenty20 before picking up his heel injury during the warm-up matches in India. The problem then reoccurred towards the end of the tour.
Broad's injury problems began in Australia during the 2010-11 Ashes, when a strained stomach muscle sustained in Adelaide forced him home early. He then suffered a rib injury during the World Cup, which again ended his participation early, and then picked up a shoulder injury late in the 2011 home season.
"What we have to do is react to the injury that he has at any one time," Miller said. "He felt, and we felt, that he had to look after his body so he went away and worked really hard at that. Since then there have been a few niggling injuries, but anybody can get them."