Like Stuart Broad… but different

We didn't expect him to bomb outside the swimming pool

If wealthy, middle-aged American women’s faces teach us anything, it is that people do not go under the knife and then return much as they ever were. Don’t seam bowlers usually have to prove themselves again after surgery?

Stuart Broad had a knee problem. It wasn’t anything too debilitating. It was the kind of thing for which you schedule surgery. A few months later, no real cricket to his name, he floats back into England’s World Cup squad and performs poorly. Now he’s in the Test team.

This is unusual. Established Test batsmen retain a firm hold on their places, but seam bowlers, whoever they are, generally do not. It only takes one ball for a batsman to lose his wicket, so it can take a few matches to gather meaningful evidence. In contrast, the worse a bowler bowls in a match, the more opportunities he gets to show what he can (and can’t) do.

There also seems to be an understanding that, no matter what the name attached to him, a bowler isn’t always the same person. This is why rotation is a thing. Sometimes a bowler’s tired. Sometimes their pace drops and their ability to shoulder a workload is reduced.

So again, we’ll ask, don’t seam bowlers usually have to prove themselves after surgery? Because this Stuart Broad is not the Stuart Broad we once had.

Even in the unlikely event that England are looking for an 80mph right-armer who can’t bat, is Broad really the best available? Such bowlers are ten-a-penny in county cricket and most have more experience of being such a thing than Broad. Broad has occasionally been seen flirting with the ‘fast bowler’ label and has a Test hundred to his name. He doesn’t know how to bowl medium-pace and bat at number 11.

If the impact of Varun Aaron’s bouncer is still being felt psychologically long after the physical scars have healed, that’s sad and unfortunate, but it only puts more emphasis on the quality of Broad’s bowling. Even in top physical condition, it pays to have realistic expectations of what he will do. At present, after surgery and a long spell without cricket, Broad’s bowling is pointlessly insipid.

How did he get in the team? Don’t seam bowlers usually have to prove themselves again after surgery?

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22 Appeals

  1. I think the decline in his batting has taken away the attention from the decline in his bowling.

  2. The problem is that he was one of only 2 decent performers in the Ashes (you know, the one we rescheduled to help us stop being so shit in the World Cup). In many ways, as a player he’s still cashing in on that and the assumption that he’ll be able to rediscover the best of his form.

    I doubt he can manage it in the West Indies but it’s not like we have some kind of domestic competition we can send him to play in instead so I guess we’ll just have to persevere.

    • Nor are England playing so many tests this year that they really need to rotate their bowlers.

    • King Cricket

      April 15, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Evidence suggests that he probably will recover form. He did bowl a couple of quicker balls yesterday, even if his default is much slower than it was. That implies he still has it in him and he just needs to build some sort of muscular endurance or whatever the bloody hell it is that influence such things.

      Our point is that right now – or more pertinently just before this Test, when the team was picked – he isn’t in form. Nor is it the kind of loss of form that just magically reverses itself. It’ll take a bit of work.

    • Broad suffers from what I have deemed “Best Mate’s Irritating Boyfriend Syndrome” (I’m working on the name), in that you spend weeks wondering why anyone would put up with this guy who seems to have little obvious appeal given he shows up late, forgets birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. Then, once you’ve convinced your friend to dump this loser and try better you see him with his shirt off and everything falls in to place.

      Stuart Broad can spend whole series sending down over after over of medium pace nothing (combined with short filth that has all the threat of a basket of disabled kittens), then he does what he did at Durham in 2013 or against India in the summer of 2011 and not only is everything forgiven but you start wondering about how tall a statue is required as a proper mark of your respect and adoration.

    • You don’t need a better names, because that one abbreviates to B-MIBS.

      Where’s Brian?
      Oh, he’s got B-MIBS.
      Ooh, nasty. Is he on antibiotics or just the cream?

  3. He probably comes from the right sort of family.

    I mean it’s not like Finn who took a lots of wickets in the World Cup but was too expensive and hence not selected (rightly IMO). Wickets are obviously more important in Tests but Broad didn’t take any meaningful amount in the World Cup.

    Also no. 11 seems a little high at the moment….

    Still we are being consistent…we are playing a “spinner” who can’t get into the Kent 1st eleven.

  4. On current form who would be England’s 4 best pacers other than Stokes?

    • Hard to answer, but you’d keep Anderson in because he will use the new ball to destroy batsmen. Then – well, it looks like Jack Brooks and Chris Rushworth at the moment, plus a proper pacer (Wood?).

    • I’d find it hard to disagree, especially given Rushworth’s part in Somerset’s demise this week, but Brooks is surely hampered by playing for Yorkshire. There’s a big queue of Yorkshire players already trying to get into the test team/warm the bench/carry the drinks etc.

    • Rashid will be back home by the end of the week.

  5. He was fine when he played for Leicestershire.

    I blame Notts.

    Taylor used to be good, too.

  6. Tredwell dismisses Chanderpaul. There’s a turn-up for the books.

  7. Oh, Broad just got a wicket, so you’re all wrong and stupid.

    • King Cricket

      April 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Broad has somehow bounced out two men, despite neither delivery topping 80mph according to the Sky speed gun.

    • King Cricket

      April 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Except that the first of those two wickets wasn’t actually a wicket; just a nearly-wicket that we for some reason mentally logged as a wicket.

    • It must be acknowledged that Sky’s speed guns are about as reliable as Afridi’s batting so Broad could have been pushing 90 or dibbly-dobblying it at barely 75.

    • King Cricket

      April 15, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      This is true. I at least credit them with consistent inaccuracy though and he’s down on everyone else, speed-wise.

  8. Somebody on Cricinfo said today that the WI are the Leicestershire of Test teams. While I felt that this is rather harsh (that’s obviously Zimbabwe), Benn may just be the Leicestershire of Test spinners right now.

  9. Noticed that Broad bowled quicker after he got lifted for 4 down to third man. Suggests that he can do it if he wants to. Deserves a good kicking

    • King Cricket

      April 16, 2015 at 9:01 am

      See our comment above about ‘muscular endurance or whatever the bloody hell it is’.

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