After England’s failure down under it has understandably led to major changes in the latest Test squad with players and coaches from the miserable Ashes series departing like London buses for a new pool of untried talent, the two Nottinghamshire stars Haseeb Hameed and more notably Stuart Broad, emitted for the three match Caribbean series in March, paceman Broad asked to sit out the West Indies tour along with his legendary bowling sidekick Jimmy Anderson, which has ‘rightly’ sparked outrage within the game.
With 640 scalps in total, no Englishman has ever taken more wickets for his country than Anderson, he also took more wickets than any other England test bowler in 2021, whilst Broad, in and out of Joe Root’s failing team like a puppet on a yo-yo had recently smashed the 500-career figure tally but last year, used sparingly in between injuries, his average sparked up, with just twelve wickets in seven tests.
Broad however, achieved the second highest number of wickets for England with 13 in Australia, whilst playing a game less (three) than Mark Wood, impressive himself with 17 wickets in four tests, Anderson for his eight scalps in three matches actually having the best economy rate and average of all England bowlers this winter.
So why have the dynamic duo been chopped and left behind to sit at home if statistically they have comparatively performed as well, if not better, as anyone else with red ball in hand?
It’s a question, many, like me, simply don’t get…
One theory, the obvious one, is that at 35 and 39 respectively, Broad and Anderson are just getting too old… Last year Anderson, the elder statesman of the two iconic legends, played 12 times but featured only in three matches during the Ashes, troubled with injury he previously missed a large part of 2020 and has regularly rested his limbs and at times requested to do so himself, as he comes to the end of his career knowing what his body can and cannot take. As for Broad, a player who wants to play every game and break records, a player in fine shape for his age, who’s been often shunted to the side-lines as England tinker, on the basis that the side ‘cannot’ play with both old guarders in their XI, has suffered over the last year, selected for only seven out of fifteen tests, it feels like there’s perhaps a vendetta that says, ’we don’t really want you around’…
Broad has often been strong in opinion and is a larger-than-life character in the England dressing room, a grumpy bowler at times, especially when things aren’t going well, he wants to make calls and perhaps ‘this’ England team don’t like him doing so?
But an England seem attack with Broad and Anderson is a better one than without them?
Understandably, Joe Root, Andrew Strauss, and new interim coach Paul Collingwood, believe that England need to build for their future, the selectors have taken risks for the upcoming series with a relatively inexperienced squad, in some ways by taking Broad and Anderson ahead of two younger players, with everybody knowing what they can already do, you may not see the side any better for the future? But in Broad and Anderson being within that sixteen-man squad, even if the squad is bulked to seventeen or eighteen, surely younger bowlers like Ollie Robinson, would learn much more with them around, than they would without them?
And experience aside, it really seems to be a huge selection own goal in axing two of the better players regardless of their age, in a side that has recently been performing so badly, having just lost 4-0 in Oz and losing at home to India in the summer, all be it with a bowling attack that in both events has been pretty ok, but with a batting department which has been a way of dire at best.
Graham Thorpe, Ashley Giles and Chris Silverwood all paid the price and rightly so, now it seems unfairly that Broad and Anderson have too, despite many below them in the pecking order perhaps warranting it more?
England’s squad for next month, which starts with a tour match on the 1st March before a first test in Antigua on the 8th, will be without featuring any Nottinghamshire player due to the latest changes made.
Haseeb Hameed didn’t do himself any justice in Australia as he averaged just ten with the bat in four games, he pays the price with one bonus should the two Notts stars emitted from the England squad not get any unexpected call ups before the summer, they’ll at least start the season at Trent Bridge in April, which will be of huge benefit to fans wanting to see them back home in green and gold.
*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).
*Main image @StuartBroad8 Broad has been axed for the West Indies tour in March.