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Broad is the new KP

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Some people should know better. Ideally, one such person should be the England vice-captain. But then, this is Stuart Broad we’re talking about, and he is not having a good time of things at the moment.

There’s no doubt that abroad (no pun intended), he struggles. Injury in Australia in 2010-11 was followed by poor performances in the UAE and Sri Lanka the following winter, where he appeared to have turned himself into an inoffensive medium-pacer who hardly ever gets the ball above 80mph. The interval between the first and second Tests showed that his off-the-field performance is not much better, and rather pathetic when you consider that if Alistair Cook should get injured, this is the bloke who would be in charge.

You’d think that, following the events of the past summer, the England team would have learned not to indulge in spats on Twitter with ex-players who now occupy the commentary box (of all the former England players to take on, he had to choose Ian Botham, a man whose record in India puts the current squad to shame; come to think of it, his 13-wicket haul in the 1980 Golden Jubilee Test might explain successive English touring-parties’ seemingly counter-intuitive faith in fast-medium bowling on turning pitches, but I digress). To those of us on the outside, it smacks of defeatism – rather than rounding on the press, he should be working on how he can improve his game, which in the first Test was awful.

After a match (make that an innings) in which he leaked 97 runs for a grand total of no wickets, making him the worst of England’s ill-advised seam trio, many of us had been hoping he’d have to make way for Steve Finn for the Mumbai Test. But alas, Finn’s injury woes continued, so Broad kept his place. Even a last-minute injury to the man himself wasn’t enough to leave him out of the team. Graham Onions must be wondering what he has to do to get a game.

During the second Test, mild contempt has turned to sympathy for a man who clearly shouldn’t be playing. Monty Panesar opening the bowling with Jimmy Anderson in India’s second innings negated the one reason why Broad’s services might be required. If he’s not going to be used to take the shine off the new ball, why’s he there?

As for the England player who got himself into so much trouble on Twitter over the summer, what can I say? The prodigal cricketer has returned. England fans have seen this – well, heard it on TMS if we don’t have Sky – and decided that it is good.

With questions over his form and an irresponsible Twitter habit, Broad – who surely must not play in the third Test – looks to be building himself up as the new KP.



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