Stuart Broad says he would have had a positive influence in first Ashes Test

Stuart Broad admits he was disappointed by England’s decision to bench him for the Ashes opener in Brisbane, having prepared himself to lead the attack on one of the biggest occasions in cricket.

England's Stuart Broad: Left out.
England's Stuart Broad: Left out.

England sprung a selection surprise in the first Test, deciding record wicket-taker James Anderson should be rested and finding no place for Broad, who occupies second place on that list.

While their comprehensive nine-wicket defeat owed more to batting failures than the make-up of their bowling unit, it remains a striking gamble.

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The pair are likely to return to lead from the front in Thursday’s day/night second Test in Adelaide, but Broad says getting into the Australians from the first moment was always his plan.

Broad said: “Over the past 12 months, Jimmy 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.

“But England selection is not in the hands of players. Of course, in my mind I was 100 per cent preparing to play and that’s especially important given my role. As a new-ball bowler, you are faced with bowling one of the most high-pressured deliveries in world sport.

“The first ball of an Ashes series at The Gabba has become a very famous event. So, I got myself into a mindset where I was ready to go. I love Ashes cricket, love bowling at the Gabba and feel like I could’ve had a positive influence on a pitch like that.”

Broad gave a memorable television interview when he was omitted from the side for the first Test of the English summer in 2020, openly questioning the wisdom of the call and suggesting he would seek talks with then national selector Ed Smith.

There was no repeat this week, though. “It would be wrong in this scenario to kick up a stink,” he explained.

“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. 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.”

Former England captain Nasser Hussain said: “England fans, however much our bowling carries us over the years, will know over the last two or three years that the batting has disappointed and these collapses have happened.

“It (Australia’s) is a wonderful bowling attack, make no mistake. They have five genuine bowlers. It is not easy against this attack. England have had batting collapses for a long, long time now. (Joe) Root has been their star player for a number of years now. I think this year he is the only one to average over 40.

“There is a problem with red-ball batting in general in England. Australia is not a bad place to bat even with their bowling attack.”