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England v West Indies

Broad: Jofra Archer the only quick sure of his place in England’s first-choice Test side

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Writing for the Daily Mail, Stuart Broad shared his thoughts on the debate over the makeup of England’s bowling attack during their upcoming Test series against the West Indies.

England have picked five quicks in the squad for the first Test, with Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, and Mark Wood joining Broad in the 13 selected, and will have to pick two to leave out.

Broad explained that he isn’t keen on being rested, having had an enforced three-month break due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that with all other bowlers having had time to get over various injuries, a tough decision will have to be made.

“One thing that is out of my control this week is selection,” Broad said. “My record over the past 12 months or so has been pretty good, I have not missed a home Test for eight years and I wouldn’t want to be rested for the first match of the summer. Let’s face it, I’ve rested for the past 12 weeks. Equally, I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a Test summer with every bowler in the country fit.”

Broad is England’s second leading Test wicket-taker, with 485 wickets at an average of 28.50. In the past 12 months, that figure drops to 23.52. However, the man ahead of him, Anderson, is once again available, having recovered from the rib injury which kept him out of the end of England’s Test series in South Africa. Wood, playing in Anderson’s place, claimed nine wickets in England’s series-sealing win at Johannesurg and is able to reach speeds Anderson and Broad can’t, while Woakes, who averages 24.43 over the last 12 months, also offers England extra batting depth.

For Broad, only Jofra Archer, if fully fit, is sure of his place. The 25-year-old has only played seven Tests and made his debut less than a year ago but has claimed three five-wicket hauls in that time.

“The competition for places is extraordinary,” Broad said. “There is myself and Jimmy Anderson to consider — you would think that Jofra Archer is in the best team 100 per cent — then you have to remind yourself that Mark Wood bowled unbelievably in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth earlier this year, and that Chris Woakes is a brilliant cricketer. It’s an absolute nightmare.”

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