Just in

Thoughts on the First Test

The two major talking points of this Test did not happen in play.

The first was the decision of Ben Stokes to bat upon winning the toss and the second the Stuart Broad interview.

No less an authority than the owner of Hampshire and the Ageas Bowl – Rod Bromsgrove – asserted that it is de rigeur on winning the toss to bat. It may still prove vindicated.

Others like Michael Vaughan, when he is not down-grading Joe Denly, argued that Stuart Broad in his statement showed he had fire in his belly and was not in the comfort zone.

I take the opposite view on Broad for many reasons.

First and foremost it scarcely adds to the morale of the group. The selectors had to make a difficult decision between Mark Wood, who did well on the South African tour, and the young tyro Jofra Archer.

They chose both and rightly so.

Broad is a vocal voice in the dressing room and through his column in the Mail on Sunday subtitled “ England Legend.”

A powerful group in the dressing room can soon become toxic, exclude the rest and impede an inexperienced captain like Ben Stokes or Joe Root.

It appears from Broad’s column today that the England hierarchy bent over backwards to persuade Broad that he is very much part of the set-up and has every chance of playing in the Second Test at Old Trafford.

The cricketer omitted for whom I feel more sorry is Chris Woakes.

He is a genuine all rounder, unlike Broad, and 30 runs from him at the crease now might well swing the game in England’s favour. Young Sam Curran, a natural number 8, is another who might feel aggrieved.

Including Joe Denly (and that might be not much longer), Jimmy Anderson and Broad, England have three well into their thirties.  They are blocking the passage for youngsters like Olly Stone.

The press loves an incident and Broad has fuelled one.

Lloris and Son of Spurs only appeared to exchange a few heated words on leaving the Tottenham pitch at half time against Everton.

This is quite common, especially when you have a goalkeeper captain in Lloris but days later it was still a media story.

Broad must have realised this – indeed played upon it.

It’s such a shame as there are better more cricket-orientated stories to report like Jason Holder winning the battle of the all rounders with Ben Stokes or a ding-dong enthralling day with England dominating and then the now familiar collapse.

With the Ashes looming it’s gratifying that Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley – and maybe also Dom Bess – have established themselves but the passage should be open for the likes of Sam Curran, Dan Lawrence of Essex and James Bracey of Gloucestershire.

Broad – goodbye and thanks.

About Douglas Heath

Douglas Heath began his lifelong love affair with cricket as an 8 year-old schoolboy playing OWZAT? Whilst listening to a 160s Ashes series on the radio. He later became half-decent at doing John Arlott impressions and is a member of Middlesex County Cricket Club. He holds no truck at all with the T20 version on the game. More Posts