NOTTINGHAM (England) – England seamer Stuart Broad has insisted the hosts have the bowling depth required to cope with a frenetic Test series against India.
Wednesday sees the two nations meet at Nottinghamshire paceman Broad’s Trent Bridge home ground for the first of five Tests condensed into a six-week period.
Both Broad and new-ball partner James Anderson looked tired during England’s recent 100-run second Test defeat by Sri Lanka at Headingley — a result that saw the Islanders claim their first series win on English soil.
And if England are kept in the field for long stretches at a time by a powerful-looking India top order, the pair’s stamina is bound to be tested to the utmost.
England national selector James Whitaker has suggested Broad, Anderson, and fellow pacemen Ben Stokes, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes could all be rotated during the series in a bid to avoid players being ‘bowled into the ground’ and breaking down injured.
And with England’s squad lacking a frontline spinner following the retirement of Graeme Swann, captain Alastair Cook is either going to have show more faith in part-time off-break bowler Moeen Ali, who made his debut during the Sri Lanka series and scored a hundred at Headingley, or hope the quicks run through India in short order if over-bowling of the seamers is not to become an issue.
“We’ve got 42 days, 25 Test match days, 10 training days, five travel days — (that) only leaves two days without cricket duty,” Broad, speaking at Trent Bridge on Monday, told Sky Sports.
“A lot depends on how we bowl. If India are getting four or five hundred every innings then the bowlers might have to take a break from time to time.
“But if we’re bowling really well and we’re only fielding for 80-90 overs an innings, that obviously makes a huge difference on the workload.”
He added: “It’s not a major concern in the near future and it’s something the seamers just need to get used to — a bit of extra bowling workload, bowling a bit more when the ball is not doing a huge amount.”
Meanwhile Broad was adamant that it was just a matter of time before Cook was back amongst the runs.
It is now 14 months since the 29-year-old opening batsman scored the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds while his tactics as a captain in the field against Sri Lanka — where his top score was 28 — saw him criticised by the likes of Shane Warne, Geoffrey Boycott and England exile Kevin Pietersen.
“He’s obviously worked hard in the nets as Cooky does, he’s always first in and last out,” Broad said. “He just needs that change of luck, all cricketers go through it from time to time and it’s Cooky’s turn.”
The Sri Lanka series followed England’ 5-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia.
But Broad insisted morale remained high among the squad as they prepared to face an India side who were thrashed 4-0 during their last Test series in England three years ago.
“We lost the series against Sri Lanka but we played a lot of good cricket in that series,” he said. “We did some brilliant stuff with some debut hundreds and that sort of thing.
“The confidence is good coming into this series.
“Obviously, the last time India were here it was probably the best series we have played for years, but a lot of that team has changed.
“Some players can take some confidence from that but the majority of players have changed from that series so this is a completely fresh series. We’ve got to restart and go again.”