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Andy Flower, the England team director, wants Stuart Broad to concentrate on improving his accuracy and forget playing the role of England's enforcer. Since Andrew Flintoff retired, Broad has gained a reputation for being the aggressor in England's pace attack, a bowler who can unsettle the batsmen with quick bouncers while the others focus on pitching it up and swinging the ball.
Broad, however, is now competing with Tim Bresnan for a spot in the first Test against India at Lord's on July 21 after struggling with his form in recent matches.
Flower said he didn't like the term 'enforcer'. "Broad's got pace and bounce and he's a great competitor, but he can be more accurate," he told the Guardian. "I've heard some crazy stuff about him being - and I hate this word - an enforcer. His job is to create pressure and to take wickets and to do that you generally bowl at off stump. So his job is not to rough up the opposition. It is not to be this ridiculous enforcer."
It was England bowling coach David Saker, however, who had said: "We want him to be the enforcer in our team. There is no better bowler in the world than Stuart at bowling bouncers."
Flower also played down Broad's exclusion from the fifth ODI against Sri Lanka, saying it was a tactical move. "It wasn't a particularly tough decision. We had to bring in another spinner and we thought [Jade] Dernbach would be more effective and give us a better chance of winning. I didn't think he [Broad] bowled as badly as his figures suggested against Sri Lanka. I've got a lot of respect for Broad as a young cricketer.
"We always select our best XI and Stuart has been a big part of that for the last few years. That's the criteria we'll use when picking the side for Lords. He's in the squad but we've yet to make a decision about the best XI."
Broad went wicketless in three of the four ODIs he played against Sri Lanka, and conceded 70 runs in 10 overs in England's loss at Headingley. He played county cricket last week to regain form ahead of the India series and took six wickets for Nottinghamshire against Somerset, including 5 for 95 in the first innings.
India will play four Tests in England and the series is being called the battle for the No. 1 ranking, with England needing to win by a margin of two to surpass India. Flower defended his team being vocal about its desire to be the top-ranked Test side, saying it was not arrogance but a natural goal.
"I find it strange that it's seen as overconfidence or an outlandish goal. Surely that's the goal you should have? Otherwise aren't you selling yourself and your country short? We don't set the goal with the expectation we're just going to talk about it. We haven't put a time limit on it, but this series is different because we're playing the current No. 1 side in the world."