Stuart Broad’s dip in form rightly leaves his England place in doubt
Stuart Broad is suffering from a dip in form after experiencing an initial meteoric rise to the top, writes Harry Kemble
English cricket is not renowned for identifying young talent at an early stage and sticking by it.
So when Stuart Broad was plucked from county cricket at the tender age of 20, the ECB were championed for its decision.
The fiery blond haired right-arm quick, who could also bat a bit, was seen as a successor to star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
And initially Broad did not disappoint. In just his eighth Test, he scored a punchy 67 not out off 60 balls against South Africa at Headingly batting below Flintoff.
Five years on, eight more half-centuries and a mammoth 169 at Lord’s – in a match tainted by spot-fixing allegations against Pakistan – have been added his name.
Broad has shown class when bowling – his first suit – too. Cricket fans will struggle to forget his five for 37 in the deciding Ashes Test in 2009, where he ripped through the middle order: Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke gone in a matter of overs.
Yet, like any sport, young stars are prone to a lull in form after experiencing an initial rise to the top of their discipline. Broad is proving to be no different.
The 26-year-old has failed to take a wicket so far against India in the current series after two Tests.
Sir Ian Botham this week came out publicly to say that he believed Broad needed a spell away from the game, citing a drop in pace for his comments.
It is clear that Broad is frustrated by his own performances, too.
Before the England team had seemingly even reached the dressing room after their woeful nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad, Broad was on Twitter calling for fans not to listen to the likes of Botham in their post-match analysis.
“And before you listen to too many ex playing ‘experts’ being negative, ask them if they ever won a Test series in India….#28years,” he posted on the social networking site.
However, his decline in form was a talking point long before the first Test in Ahmedabad.
Broad struggled against South Africa over the summer, finishing the three-match encounter with a bowling average touching 40.
That, coupled with one 50 this calendar year, means questions must be asked about how much longer England’s current vice-captain merits his place in the team.