It is a big risk to leave out fit and fiery Broad

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Subject - Sir Ge­of­frey Boy­cott

Iwas very sur­prised Stu­art Broad was omit­ted from the England side. I would not have left out a fan­tas­tic bowler who has 485 Test wick­ets, is healthy, re­li­able and has bowled well for his coun­try over a long pe­riod.

For me, there is a ques­tion mark over all three of the quick bowlers they have picked as re­gards them break­ing down. Jofra Archer, Jimmy An­der­son and Mark Wood are all ter­rific bowlers, but they have all suf­fered from in­jury in re­cent times.

As much as we love An­der­son, he will be 38 in three weeks and I can­not re­mem­ber any qual­ity fast bowler play­ing Test cricket at 38 and stay­ing the pace. Age catches up with ev­ery­one in ev­ery sport, no mat­ter how good you have been.

The last time Jimmy played in England was Aug 1 at Edg­bas­ton in the first Ashes Test last sum­mer. He broke down and that was a big fac­tor in England los­ing. As a main seamer he was 25 per cent of the bowl­ing at­tack.

Wood puts a huge strain on ev­ery part of his body as he de­liv­ers the ball. There is noth­ing fluid in his ac­tion, but as much as I ad­mire his whole­hearted ef­fort, I al­ways feel throw­ing his body into ev­ery de­liv­ery like he does is a recipe for an in­jury. He has had nu­mer­ous prob­lems and a lot of time out with var­i­ous injuries.

Even new boy Archer has not been im­mune from in­jury, miss­ing the last three Test matches in South Africa.

By play­ing Broad I would know I have got one guy who hardly ever breaks down.

The three bowlers they have picked may stay fit and, if they do, they will get wick­ets – they’re good bowlers. But when you have three bowlers with a his­tory of in­jury you are in­creas­ing the risk of one of them break­ing down.

It is like in foot­ball – if a player gets sent off and you are down to 10 men, the team strug­gles. Los­ing a ma­jor seam bowler is a much big­ger fac­tor than los­ing a bats­man. Hav­ing bowlers that do not break down is priceless for a cap­tain and a team.

Pace is an ace in any team and it is a long time since England could call on two, so it is tempt­ing to want to play both and make the op­po­si­tion jump around.

No­body likes fac­ing fast bowl­ing. Some bats­men play it bet­ter than oth­ers, but they have to stay fit to bowl their overs and not break down.

That was the amaz­ing thing about West Indies in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s – Michael Hold­ing, Mal­colm Mar­shall, Joel Gar­ner, Andy Roberts, Curtly Am­brose and Court­ney Walsh all bowled quickly and ac­cu­rately and yet they hardly ever broke down.

As the old Not­ting­ham For­est man­ager Brian Clough used to tell his play­ers, if you’re in­jured and not on the park, you’re no good to your­self and you’re no good to the team. You have got to stay fit.

But I am glad that Ben Stokes won the toss and had the balls to bat first in what was over­cast, awk­ward con­di­tions for bats­men. I re­alise bat­ting could be a bit tricky against the new ball, but I re­ally be­lieve England have a bet­ter chance of win­ning by bat­ting first and putting a score on the board.

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