Thoughts on Broad and Cook

12 06 2011

With the squad announced for the third test and the only noteworthy item being Jimmy Anderson’s inclusion, we were moved to put finger to keyboard, if you will, on the subject of Stuart Broad. Broad has been a key part of England’s attack for some time and recently achieved the milestone of 100 test wickets whilst also scoring some valuable runs including what turned out to be a match winning 169 last year against Pakistan.

However, there have been concerns that Broad, bar certain memorable occasions, has been the weakest member of England’s attack – and certainly the most likely one to mislay his toys some outside his pram. A glance at the England bowlers records over the past twelve months bares this out:

  • Anderson 50 wickets @ 20.14
  • Swann 47 wickets @ 22.97
  • Finn 31 wickets @ 29.06
  • Tremlett 25 wickets @ 25.36
  • Broad 22 wickets @ 35.27
  • Bresnan 11 wickets @ 19.54
Admirable and key to England’s fortunes over the past few years has been the loyalty shown by selectors and managers to the players and Broad is someone who has benefited from this. Other beneficiaries of this have included Flintoff, Bell and maybe even KP but, unlike the others, Broad has yet really to pay this investment back (bar one or two, albeit highly important, performances).
So far in the Sri Lanka series he has looked the least dangerous and as such is not getting the returns he needs. Perhaps he is a victim of trying too hard and shortly it will all click into place, but he must certainly be looking at Finn’s golden arm with something akin to jealousy. To bowl badly or inconsistently and still pick up wickets is an admirable trait to have and as such Broad knows that if he doesn’t take wickets over the next couple of games, the calls for a replacement might become too loud to ignore.
For our money he is worth persisting with although with Onions, Bresnan, Shahzad and Finn – not to mention Dernbach and one or two others – there is more competition for spots than we have ever seen in the England squad.
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Now here is a topic that even 9 months ago the average cricket fan would not have been contemplating in the slightest. Is Alistair Cook a great batsman in the true sense of the word or, perhaps more likely, is he destined for greatness?
What seems certain is that at the age of 26, and with 18 test match centuries already under his belt, Cook is likely to end up England’s all time top run scorer (despite what KP might have said recently about his own claims recently) with a century tally at or around 40 test hundreds – barring of course a catastrophic lack of form at some point.
If he can achieve even close to this, then they will be the figures of a great batsman. One man who these days is considered as undoubtedly great is Steve Waugh yet his career took along time to get going and it was 80 tests before his average hit the heights that Cook’s has recently achieved. And all that whilst scoring only ten hundreds.
Perhaps it is true that the bowling was probably better 20 years ago than now but even so – given that Cook achieves what he looks likely to  – it would seem churlish to deprive him of this tag.
Some players achieve greatness earlier through huge success coupled with an aesthetic pleasure (i.e. Lara or Tendulkar) but some too do it through graft, grind and frequent pokes through third man. It simply takes longer to become apparent the second way and for Roebuck to write Cook off seems possibly a little premature!
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3 responses

12 06 2011
Chris

Thanks CH, Good to see you back! been a triffle quiet! Surely Cook getting an MBE in the Queens Birthday Honours kills any thoughts of achieving “greathood” I always think a sportsman getting such an acholade so early on in there careers is odd. Especially when it took Brucie 50 years for the knighthood!

13 06 2011
James Parrett

I think any talk of dropping Broad is hugely premature. The guy has hardly borlwed at all in the last 6 mos. He just needs overs. I have no problem with him getting his sharpness back in the side either, continuity is a great strength in any team. He actually bowled pretty well at Lords and was v unlucky not to get in the wickets, which isn’t the first time i’ve thought that about Broad.

The only other person who’s got more runs than Cook at this stage in his career is Sachin Tendulkar. Case rests.

13 06 2011
Bradders

Agreed. Had a feeling as I was writing it it was a bit of a non starter!

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