Tests vs NZ, India: Stuart Broad hopes to join forces with Anderson again

Cricket
Stuart Broad (left) hopes he and James Anderson can play a key part in a busy Test season for England through till 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Kolkata: Stuart Broad, the second highest wicket-taker for England in Tests with 517 scalps, hopes to join forces with long-time bowling partner James Anderson again for the ‘Old Firm’ to strike in what is a choc-a-bloc calendar for them in 2021-22. It starts with a two-Test series against New Zealand on June 2, then a five-Test series against India at home to be followed by the Ashes series in Australia at the year-end.

Anderson, 38, and the owner of 614 wickets and Broad, are the longest serving seam bowling duo in active cricket – though they were deployed together just once in six Tests in the sub-continent this winter – the day-night clash against India in Ahmedabad – but Broad expects that to change back on home soil.

Broad was controversially omitted from the first Test against West Indies at The Ageas Bowl last July but since then bagged 29 wickets in five games, including his 500th scalp in the format, at an average of 13.41 en route to being named ‘Test Player of the Summer.’

Speaking at programme of sponsors NatWest earlier this week, Broad said: “By the end of last summer I think we showed that Jimmy and I were both in the best bowling attack in England. I don’t see that (rotation) ploy being used in England.

“There are seven Tests (in England) and both of us might not play them all but we have shown great longevity and consistency. With us only playing red-ball cricket, there are guys who might need to rest for white-ball opportunities.

It’s a first-time effort. I can’t quite work out how a five-match Ashes series can be worth the same as India playing Bangladesh for two Tests. There’s something in the idea and it has given great context to the game but there needs to be work done on how it all comes together, I think

– Stuart Broad

“I’d hope for both of us to be in the first Test of the summer,” showing there is enough fuel left in the tank. The duo stands heads and shoulders above the rest among top Test wicket-takers for England, as legendary allrounder Ian Botham is a distant third in the list with 383 wickets.

The England veteran, meanwhile, has his reservations about the concept of World Test Championship (WTC) – whose final will see India and New Zealand facing off at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from June 18.

Placings were decided on a points percentage after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the calendar, with 120 points available per series regardless of the number of matches played.

“The World Test Championship is a really good concept, I just don’t think it’s quite right yet,’’ said a candid Broad.

“It’s a first-time effort. I can’t quite work out how a five-match Ashes series can be worth the same as India playing Bangladesh for two Tests. There’s something in the idea and it has given great context to the game but there needs to be work done on how it all comes together, I think.

“We had an opportunity, but the amount of cricket we play as an England side in the current system makes it very difficult to get into the final,” he added.