It’s hard to pinpoint precisely when the final wheel fell off. It was probably a couple of months ago, but England’s cricketers have had to continue shoving “it” along anyway. No wonder they ended up going round in circles.
It’s not been the best tour. In a vain effort to gain a well-paid but pointless position at the ECB, let’s take the positives.
We can see it now. England are already drafting their excuses for when he’s injured. “We need to find another all-rounder because it’s impossible to balance the side in his absence. He’s effectively two players in one and 12 into 11 won’t go.”
His bowling’s solid but unspectacular. His batting’s surprisingly unshowy. His mental resilience appears first rate. A three-format, two-discipline cricketer – expect diminishing returns as he’s worn to a nub.
We’ve warmed to Broad quite a lot during this tour. Not that we ever disliked him, but he’s always been hard to really root for. However, it takes a certain kind of person to be bullied by an entire nation and not buckle; to in fact take pride in it.
Delusion can be a strength for an international sportsman and Broad has somehow played well in a weak side when throwing in the towel and sleepwalking through a few matches would have been infinitely easier. If only he could stop saying ‘to be fair’ in interviews.
Back when England’s pace bowling strength in depth seemed like a real thing, you could get down as far as Ajmal Shahzad and still think that he’d probably do okay given a run in the Test team. Nowadays, Steven Finn’s turned into Ishant Sharma at the end of a one-day international.
In this new and murky light, Chris Jordan somehow looked like he backed up the positive impression he made when appearing in our county cricket round-up pretty much every time we bothered to write it. He managed this despite taking six wickets at 42 in the one-day series. Honestly, what a tour.
Sort of carried on doing what he does – something almost no other England player managed. The fact that ‘what he does’ is mind-blowingly spectacular is a bonus.
Why did you push it without wheels for so long? Look what you’ve done to the axles. And the chassis. Junaid Khan (new non-blasphemous exclamation), it’s a right mess. It’s going to really cost you to get this fixed.