Ben Stokes has said that he does not regret leaving out Stuart Broad from the side that lost the first Test to West Indies in Southampton, but added that the 34-year-old seamer was “nowhere near done”.
Broad had expressed his disappointment at being dropped from the XI, admitting that he was angry and frustrated after the management decided to go with a fast-bowling attack featuring James Anderson, Jofra Archer, and Mark Wood.
Stokes, who is filling in for regular captain Joe Root, hailed Broad for the “fantastic interview”, saying that he would have been worried if the bowler “didn’t show the passion” at being overlooked.
“No, I don’t think so,” Stokes said, when asked in the post-match interview if there were regrets. “If I was to regret that, it sends the wrong message to the other guys I picked. We’re in a fortunate position that we’re able to leave somebody out of Stuart’s quality and I thought the interview he gave the other day was actually fantastic, the passion that he showed in that interview.
“I’d actually be very worried if he didn’t show that desire and passion towards not being selected. Someone who’s played that many Test matches and got that many wickets – to still see that desire and emotion is fantastic to see, you know, as a senior player in this team.”
At the toss, Stokes had justified the selection, saying that the combination of Mark Wood and Jofra Archer would add “another dimension” in the attack with their extra pace. The exclusion from the Southampton Test meant that Broad, just 15 shy of 500 Test wickets, missed his first home Test since 2o12.
Despite all that, Stokes said the seamer still had a lot to offer. “He’s nowhere near done,” Stokes said, “and, if he plays in the second Test match, I really hope he walks off that field with a bit of an ‘up you’.”