Stuart Broad has been told that his latest omission from England’s one-day squad is based solely on merit and now finds himself struggling to force a way back into the side before next year’s Champions Trophy.
Broad, who sought clarification on his limited overs career from the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, during the recent Lord’s Test, has been used as a Test specialist since the end of the 2015 World Cup, bar two one-day internationals in South Africa over the winter when injuries to Steven Finn and Liam Plunkett saw him asked to remain on tour.
The Australian’s answer was that Finn, Plunkett, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and David Willey are all considered better bets for the upcoming series with Sri Lanka, as the selectors look to expose further an inexperienced attack before the Champions Trophy in 2017 and the World Cup in 2019, both of which are being played on home soil.
“I had a chat with Stuart and told him on this occasion the team has been picked on merit,” said Bayliss, whose own appointment 12 months ago owed much to his limited overs success.
“That doesn’t mean that it’s the end of his one-day career. There are bowlers in there who haven’t cemented their spots yet.
“There is no reason why he couldn’t be playing in the Champions Trophy next year or the World Cup in 2019 but just at the moment the selectors feel the bowlers who have been selected deserve their opportunity first. His point of view is that he doesn’t get to play much white-ball cricket, which is a little bit difficult for him.”
How Broad, who turns 30 this month, convinces the selectors otherwise is not obvious given that his workload continues to be managed with Test cricket in mind; he is now rested until Nottinghamshire’s four-day fixture with Lancashire on 3 July and has played just one 50-over match for his county in the past 18 months.
With 11 Test matches still to play this year – England host Pakistan from 14 July, before tours to Bangladesh and India – he may not get an extended 50-over run in domestic cricket until the first half of 2017, when the Royal London Cup is moved to the start of the summer and there are no Test matches until after the Champions Trophy in June.
If Broad’s desire to continue a limited overs career that has brought nearly 250 international wickets is a welcome problem for England’s selectors, then the wicketkeeping situation is more complicated, with Jos Buttler to remain behind the stumps for the upcoming one-day and Twenty20 matches despite Jonny Bairstow’s expected return as a batsman.
Bayliss stated his belief that the best gloveman should keep wicket, with the implication therefore being that Buttler remains the better of the two in this regard. A Test return, with Bairstow reverting to the role of a specialist batsman, does not appear imminent, however, with Buttler told he needs first-class runs. Surrey’s Ben Foakes could yet come into the equation, however.
Bayliss said: “The keepers we have got are young and maybe batters who are wicketkeepers. I’m a bit old school and believe the best wicketkeeper should be in team. Foakes is one name that has been mentioned along with two or three others. It is something we are going to have to work through and think about.”
At least one change to the England line-up for the first Test with Pakistan seems probable, with Nick Compton’s struggle for runs since an impressive start to the South Africa tour last December meaning he will likely be replaced at No3. Durham’s Scott Borthwick, averaging 82 with three centuries this season, is the leading candidate.
Bayliss said: “Obviously Nick will be disappointed with the amount of runs he’s made in the series with Sri Lanka. He has been a fantastic inclusion off the field; he leaves no stone unturned in preparation. From a coach’s point of view, I have had no complaints with Nick’s effort. From a selector’s point of view, he will be discussed.
“I haven’t actually seen [Borthwick] bat but the feedback I’ve got is that he is a player who is in form. He is a tough sort of a cricketer, playing at Durham where sometimes the wickets have got a little bit more in them, and very enthusiastic – a great guy to have in the team. [But] he’s not the only one. There are a few others around that could get a game.”
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