The news that Stuart Broad will miss England’s remaining two Twenty20 Internationals in the West Indies with a knee injury is a worry, especially with the World Twenty20 so close.
England’s captain took the decision to miss the remaining games in the Caribbean to ensure he could be as fit as possible, having received injections all winter to treat patellar tendonitis.
Without their leader and senior seam bowler, their campaign to regain the trophy they won in 2010 could be seriously damaged, especially when Broad’s role is considered in the context of the entire side.
Broad’s Twenty20 International Record
- 52 matches
- 113 runs; 7.53 batting average; 18* highest score
- 61 wickets; 22.77 bowling average; 4-24 BBI
England’s leading wicket taker in Twenty20 Internationals, were Broad to be unavailable for this showpiece event, he would leave quite a hole to be filled.
His 61 wickets have come at a very respectable average of 22.77, while he has also bowled the most overs in T20s for England with 183.3.
In addition, he is vastly experienced in terms of games played, having represented England in the format 52 times after making his debut in 2006.
Broad’s removal from the team would deprive England of their most experienced T20 operator and a certainty for the new ball, who has shown the potency to take wickets at home and away.
Broad’s Twenty20 International Captaincy Record
- 23 matches
- 11 wins; 11 losses; 1 no result
Broad was first appointed as captain of England’s Twenty20 side in May 2011, and since then, he has led the side on 23 occasions.
Statistically, his record is somewhat inconsistent, with England winning as many games as they have lost under him—11—with one match against South Africa in 2012 lost to rain.
It showed the respect he was held in by then-coach Andy Flower to be appointed to the role at the age of 24, and he has appeared to flourish in the leadership role.
He also led England in the last World T20 in Sri Lanka in 2012, so he at least has an idea of what is required as a leader in that competition despite his team being knocked out in the group stage.
Were England to not have that tournament experience available to them, especially as a leader, they would surely struggle.
No panic with the knee, had it a long time. The workload over the winter has got it to a point it needs treatment. 7 days should be fine— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) March 9, 2014
Alternative Seam Bowlers
From those already at England’s disposal, Tim Bresnan would take on a senior role despite his pace being well down on where it once was after elbow surgery.
The much-maligned Jade Dernbach would also keep his place as a relatively experienced seamer, despite some questioning whether he should be in the team at all.
Finally, Chris Jordan has played just one T20 International, and while he has looked in good form this winter, he is severely lacking in experience in that format.
In short, without Broad, England’s fast bowling resources look very thin indeed.
Not only would Broad’s absence mean that England would be without their leading seamer, they would also be without their permanent captain in this format.
Morgan would be the obvious choice to replace Broad as captain were he to be unfit, with James Tredwell surely the favourite to step in as vice-captain if necessary.
Both have captained England in T20s before, but stepping in to lead them at the World T20 would be a tough ask, given the pressure that comes with participating in an international tournament.
With Broad as captain, England would have a sure-footed leader who has shown time and again that he is able to stand up to intense scrutiny.
Does It Matter?
With or without Broad, do England have much of a chance in the World T20?
That series was drawn 1-1, while they lost 1-0 to New Zealand earlier that summer in a two-match series.
Since then, England have been whitewashed 3-0 Down Under by a rampant Australian team, who rotated their squad heavily and still won convincingly.
It all goes to show how far behind other nations England are in their T20 cricket, but their most recent loss in the Caribbean was perhaps most worrying of all.
With just one specialist spinner, England’s bowlers struggled to exert any control, and then their batsmen failed to chase what was an infinitely reachable 171 for victory.
A loss by 27 runs to a handy West Indies team that is not yet a world-beater shows the issues that dog English cricket.
These issues will almost certainly remain, regardless of whether Broad is in Bangladesh or not.