How Would Injury to Stuart Broad Affect England's 2014 World T20 Chances?

Chris Teale@@chris_tealeFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

England's captain Stuart Broad gestures during a one-day international cricket match against West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in St. John's, Antigua, Sunday, March 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

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

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.


Alternative Seam Bowlers

Were Broad to be injured for the World T20, it would place a lot of pressure on their fast bowling resources, particularly on closer examination of their squad.

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.

Ben Stokes, Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright all provide options as all-rounders, but based on previous performances, it is questionable if they could step up and be a crucial part of the bowling attack.

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.

Outside the squad, Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn both suffered tremendous drops in form in Australia and surely would not be rushed back into the setup so quickly.

Other recent caps Stuart Meaker and Chris Woakes could provide squad depth, but at this stage, they need more experience at county level before they can step back into international cricket.

Perhaps Broad’s absence could bring James Anderson back into the fold, much as Joe Root’s injury has brought Ian Bell back from the T20 wilderness.

In short, without Broad, England’s fast bowling resources look very thin indeed.


Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Alternative Captains

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.

The matter becomes further complicated by Eoin Morgan’s recent injury problems, although they seem to be resolved now.

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?

They have not won a game in the format since August 2013, when they beat Australia at home by 27 runs, thanks in large part to 94 from Alex Hales.

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.