England T20 captain could step down
England fast bowler Stuart Broad may be forced to quit T20 cricket in order to prolong his Test and one-day international career.
Captain of the national T20 team, Broad is playing in his first competitive match since England’s horrendous World T20 campaign, opening the bowling alongside Ashes rival Peter Siddle for county side Nottinghamshire against Durham at Trent Bridge.
Managing only six overs for Notts, Broad’s troublesome right knee showed no signs of impairment, but his workload and accumulation of niggling injuries has new England selector Mick Newell concerned about the viability of Broad playing all three formats.
"Stuart is a key man for Test cricket and one-day internationals, so in terms of managing his fitness I think we are going to have to look at Twenty20 for Stuart," Newell said.
"The last two or three years he has picked up a lot of little things and he would want to have played more cricket than he has.
"There is a lot of ODI cricket coming up and how you manage the workload for players like Stuart through the summer and as you prepare for the 50-over World Cup next February is something that will have to be looked at."
Retiring from international T20 cricket would see Broad relinquish the captaincy, but Newell believes Broad would understand the consequences and benefits of stepping down, and hasn’t ruled out the fast bowler from leading his country again one day.
"Of course there is kudos in being captain, but I think he will get his head around [losing] that," Newell said.
"He is proud and ambitious, but captaincy in a longer form of the game, perhaps in one-day cricket, would remain a possibility."
Broad is not the only worry for Newell and his fellow selectors, admitting that up to seven spots are up for grabs, identifying Graeme Swann’s replacement and the wicketkeeper position as the two deepest holes to fill.
"Swanny not being around is one of the biggest headaches," he said.
"Are you going to pick an out-and-out spinner, in which case you go for the best spinner, or is there a balance of team to be had?
"If your spin bowler is a batsman of quality, such as Moeen Ali or Samit Patel, and you have an allrounder such as a Stokes or Chris Woakes or Ravi Bopara type, then the wicketkeeper could come in as low as eight.
"The 'keeper situation is massive. If you are going to have high-quality seam bowling you want to have a good man behind the pegs.
"There are two camps of keeper – there is the Kieswetter, Buttler, Bairstow group and there is the Foster, Read group, more the old-school wicketkeeper.
"I watched Foster last week and he was terrific. There will be an interesting debate there."
Another issue for England is the fitness of allrounder Ben Stokes, who suffered a broken wrist following a bizarre incident after he was dismissed in the Caribbean before the World T20 in Bangladesh.
Newell compared Stokes to Australia’s premier allrounder Shane Watson, and lauded the impact he made during his maiden Test series in the comprehensive Ashes loss.
"Ben has that bit of magic about him, he makes things happen," Newell said. "He is a real competitor, he has a bit of fight, as you could see in Australia when he took it to the Aussies and stood up for himself.
"Once he is fully fit, as a fourth seamer he gives England what Shane Watson gives to Australia.
"He is desperate to start playing again and the only danger is that he rushes back too soon. Durham play Middlesex next and we will be looking at how much cricket he can get in."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 27 May, 2014 10:28AM AEST