England pace bowler Stuart Broad said he was disappointed not to play in the opening Test of their Ashes series against Australia despite being fit, but understood the need to stay fresh for the matches ahead.
Broad and fellow pace stalwart James Anderson share 1,156 Test wickets between them but the duo were rested for the Gabba Test, which England lost by nine wickets to trail 1-0 in the five-match series.
“Over the past 12 months, Anderson and I tried to ensure we were as fit as could be in the current COVID climate, ready to go and available for all five Tests in Australia. I think we ticked that box,” Broad wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“But England selection isn’t in the hands of players. It’s in those of people who have to make choices based on conditions and the balance of the team and our job now, with four matches to go, is to be ready for the next of the series in Adelaide.
“… I’ve been left out on numerous occasions and sometimes it comes as a real surprise. This was less of a surprise, maybe because I wasn’t in the team for the previous series against India due to a calf injury.”
Broad, 35, said he could have made a difference in bowler-friendly conditions in Brisbane.
“Of course, I was disappointed not to play but I realise this series is a marathon and not a sprint,” Broad said.
“Never have five Test matches been as bunched up as this and it will be exhausting, so realistically I don’t think any seamer will play all five.
“Do I want to be on the field at Hobart in the fifth Test with the opportunity to do something special? Of course. And if I’m not needed before then, we will have done bloody well.”
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain reckons that playing both James Anderson and Broad might be difficult for the Joe Root-led side in the second Ashes Test.
Broad and Anderson were left out of the playing XI for the first Test and this decision raised a few eyebrows among cricket fans.
“People will say bring Stuart Broad and James Anderson back in but the bowlers that have been bowling in this Test have now got overs in their legs, so they are the best ones physically to go and play the next one,” Hussain wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
“Broad and Anderson haven’t bowled in anger in a match for months now and with their ageing bodies, can you get them both in? I’d definitely go with Anderson for the swing,” he added.
“How England are psychologically, is key now. Some fans will be thinking ‘here we go again, we are going to lose 5-0’. We have lost 10 of our last 11 games in Australia with the other one being a draw. But we cannot have England thinking here we go again,” said Hussain.
“They are going to Adelaide, a pink-ball Test. It is their best chance to get back into the series so be positive and think we can get back into the series,” he added.
Nathan Lyon, skipper Pat Cummins, David Warner, and Travis Head were the standout performers as Australia defeated England by nine wickets in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday.
Chasing 20, Alex Carey (9) and Marcus Harris (9*) made light work of the chase and the hosts registered victory in just 5.1 overs.
Lyon and Cummins got among the wickets in the second innings as Australia inched closer to victory against England on Day 4. England was bowled out for 297, setting a target of just 20 runs for Australia to win the Gabba Test.
The second Test starts on Thursday in Adelaide.
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