Stuart Broad has admitted to feeling “angry” and “frustrated” with the decision to leave him out of England’s line-up for the first Test against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl.
Broad’s streak of 51 consecutive Test appearances at home, running over the course of eight years, came to an end on Wednesday, July 8 as England opted for a seam attack of James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes. Speaking at the toss, Stokes, standing in as captain for the absent Joe Root, admitted that the extra pace of Wood and Archer offered England “another dimension”.
Broad was England’s leading wicket-taker in last year’s Ashes and the 3-1 series win over South Africa in the winter.
Speaking to Sky Sports prior to the start of play on day three, Broad admitted to seeking assurances over his future from chief selector Ed Smith on Thursday and while he received “pretty positive feedback in going forward”, the veteran quick said he has found “the last couple of days quite tough”.
“I spoke to Ed Smith last night and he said he’s involved in picking the 13 and they picked based purely for this pitch,” Broad said. “I wanted clarifications for the future going forward, and I was given pretty positive feedback in going forward.
“I’m not a particularly emotional person, but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. You get disappointed if you drop your phone and break the screen. I’ve been frustrated, angry, gutted. Because it’s quite a hard decision to understand, I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years, I felt like it was my shirt having been in the team in the Ashes and then going to South Africa and winning there.
“But we’re also in quite a unique position this summer. Very rarely do you get all your bowlers fit, which we’ve got at the minute, and all your bowlers ready to go. Part of my strength and durability as a cricketer is I’ve been fit, touch wood, on a lot of occasions. I’ve been available for selection. I was frustrated in the fact I felt like I deserved a spot in the team, as would everyone else.
“Chris Woakes, Sam Curran [are] all bowling really well here, all probably deserve to be in the XI, but aren’t. It is hard to take but also I’m quite please I feel frustrated and gutted and angry because if I didn’t, I’d have a different decision to make. So I don’t think I’ve anything to prove. England know what I can do. The selectors know what I can do and when I get that opportunity again, you can bet that I’ll be on the money.”
Broad did add that “you can’t argue that the bowlers walking on that field don’t deserve to play”, highlighting how competition for places in fast-bowling ranks was beneficial to English cricket.
“We play 12 months of the year and some guys play all three formats. Very rarely do you get guys fit and available for each Test match. That’s where selection’s been tricky, that’s where it’s been tough and that’s where it’s frustrating when you don’t play. Also you can’t argue that the bowlers walking on that field don’t deserve to play as well. Everyone deserves to play, it’s just annoying when it’s not you that’s in that XI.
“It’s great to see strength in depth in the fast-bowling ranks. It’s the only way England cricket moves on and gets better, and with high competition in squads it keeps the standard high and allows players to play under pressure. Everyone’s under pressure for their spots. There’s no crowd pressure here. There’s no usual pressure that comes with Test match cricket so it’s hard to really see the usual pressure levels of Test matches that we come under scrutiny like that. But there’s certainly inward pressure within the squad because people want to get in the team.”
Broad’s goal is now to make sure he can find a way back into the line-up for the second Test, which will begin on July 16 at Old Trafford.
“To me now it will be doing as much as I can in the next week to make sure I’m available for Old Trafford. The chairman of selectors made it clear that they’re picking pitch for pitch. The decision to go with extra pace on this pitch was based on being here at the Ageas Bowl and based on this pitch. That means if I get to Old Trafford, [and] it looks light it might seam from full of length then I might have a chance.”