England pacer Stuart Broad is ready for the possibility of the management to switch pacers during the five-match Test series against India which will take place over a period of six weeks.
Cricket news: It is unrealistic to expect a pacer to bowl in all matches, says Broad
Broad, who has recently recovered from an ankle injury, is part of the five-paceman squad for the first Test at Edgbaston, which also includes the uncapped Jamie Porter.
Broad’s pace partner James Anderson has also recovered from injury since the series against Pakistan. Broad said that there has been discussions where a pacer might be rested for a certain match and then how things will be dealt with.
“I think there has already been small conversations saying about ‘don’t be disheartened if you are left out for a Test match’, it’s not a personal attack or dropping, it’s management of your bowlers to make sure we give ourselves the best chance,” Broad said.
“I won’t get to the stage where I am left out at say, Lord’s, I’d go back and play county cricket, if you’re missing out, fresh bowlers come in, you stay around [the squad], keep talking, stay part of the unit so it’s only natural to expect small changes throughout five Test matches, but the bowlers have to be able to take it.”
The warm conditions can lead to flat pitches, which would give the pacers a back-breaking job. While it may also go the other way and could demand the workload from spinners in the likes of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali.
“If the pitches turn square and the spinners do a lot of the work, you might not bowl so much but come on when the ball starts to reverse swing,” Broad said. “So sometimes your workloads can be higher if green and nibbling, but if it turns the spinners will bowl 20-30 overs each before the new ball.”
“The positive is we haven’t had a huge amount of overs towards the end of June then July, so we’re going into a five Test series in just over six weeks really fresh. It’s going to be tough, we get a break in a series normally but the fixtures have fallen such that it’s going to be a physical challenge for the bowlers and we need to be fresh, fit..and I think we all will be.”
Broad had swelled his ankles due to excessive pressure on ligaments. But he is confident of his full fitness before the first Test. He has also prepared for the game by playing one Championship match against Surrey, where he took 2 wickets for 80 runs from 19 overs.
“I was looking out for pain and swelling but there was none first innings and the overs leading in,” he said. “I had no pain after the game, I am going in 100% fit and you can’t say that too often so it’s an exciting place to be.”
England’s main challenge will be to get Virat Kohli out cheaply, while the Indian skipper will be desperate to correct his Test average of 13.40 in England which he had in the torrid 2014 tour.
But due to the recent heatwave, the conditions might be similar as that of the subcontinent, due to which England should come up with ‘funky’ plans to outwit the batsman. However Broad still believes despite the heatwave the pitches will still hold traditional virtues.
“The history of Test cricket will suggest if you hold the top of off longer than anyone else you will have success, in England particularly it’s about owning the top of off,” he said. “Say you’re playing against someone like Graeme Smith, it’s very different technique, but I don’t think Kohli has a thing like that. Steve Smith you bowl different to a normal right-hander but Kohli is quite orthodox.
“Your plans can be simpler and you just have to out-patience world class batsmen at both ends. As a bowling unit we will just have to make it as hard for all of their batsman but particularly a key player like Virat to score earlier and try and create pressure that way. We won’t have Headingley in June pitch, it will be attritional cricket where you hold for periods of time and try to speed the game up day three four and five.”