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Retired greats call for Broad to be axed

Stuart Broad has been a mainstay of England's pace attack for a decade but the knives are out ahead of the Boxing Day Test

Australia fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath has joined the chorus calling for England to drop Stuart Broad for the Boxing Day Test.

The England pace spearhead has taken just five wickets in three Magellan Ashes Tests, going wicketless in three innings, and at an average of 61.80.

He's struggled with a long-term knee issue, and reportedly had it drained of fluid ahead of the WACA Test, prompting calls to drop the 112-Test veteran in Melbourne.

"No one can go on for ever and when you are not doing the business any more you have to consider what comes next, and as tough a call as it would be for England ahead of the fourth Test, maybe it is time for a bit of a change," McGrath wrote in his Daily Mail column.

"I was fortunate enough to go out on top after the 2007 World Cup but it's not always easy to know when the time is right and some guys have to be moved on before they are ready to go.

"Broad, at 31, is not old and should have a few years left in him but being left out now might be the wake-up call he needs.

"How long he has left depends on what his priorities are. If he still has his goals and is focused on being the best, with money secondary, then he will still be able to do it for England. If money becomes the priority, that's when you can struggle."

McGrath said England captain Joe Root's handling of the fast bowler was exacerbating his issues, criticising the visitors' ploy of using Broad in four-over spells.

"I can't ever remember my captain telling me 'that will do' after such a short stint. Something appears to be wrong with him and it's a big issue for England," McGrath wrote.

"I've always liked Broad and the area he bowls but you can't do anything in four-over spells. The best strike-rates in the history of the Test game belong to Waqar Younis and Dale Steyn, who took their wickets every 42 balls.

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"I don't know whether the knee injury he apparently has is affecting him or he is just down on form but it's been a long time since he has taken a wicket."

Broad's strike-rate this series is a whopping 135.6, meaning he has been taking a wicket once every 23 overs. His last five-wicket haul came in January 2016 in Johannesburg, and has only taken four wickets twice in the 42 Test innings since.

"The only time the England attack has looked dangerous was when conditions suited them in the second innings at Adelaide and for a spell in Perth when there was reverse swing, but that was only really (James) Anderson," added McGrath.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has also called for Broad to be dropped after underperforming in 2017.

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"Stuart has not bowled well all year. Taking 25 wickets at nearly 40 is not good enough for Broad, particularly given some of the wickets he has bowled on," Vaughan wrote in UK paper The Telegraph.

"He has not bowled in Australia to the standard he would have liked so maybe the call is to leave him out for a while."

Former Australia quick Mitchell Johnson, chief architect of the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash, also said Broad was in danger of being dropped.

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"I'm not sure if Stuart Broad is up to it at the moment. There will be some question marks around him, a senior player," Johnson said.

And former England player Kevin Pietersen also suggested the opening fast bowler should be axed in a social media post.

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test Australia won by an innings and 41 runs. Scorecard

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21