Stuart Broad appears set to return for the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney on Wednesday, after recently expressing his displeasure with England’s failed tour, in which he has appeared only once.
The 35-year-old is expected to take over for Ollie Robinson as England attempts to salvage pride in a series that they trail 3-0. Joe Root, who will lead the Test team for the record 60th time, said on Monday that Australia’s defeats “hurt deeply.”
Broad was not selected for the first Test at the Gabba and then the third match at the MCG, but he recently wrote in his Mail on Sunday column that he “won’t get a better chance to take wickets” than on the two seamer-friendly pitches that were prepared.
Broad’s strategic deployment during the series has certainly raised eyebrows in Australia, not least in Brisbane for an instant bowl at David Warner, the opener he dominated during the 2019 Ashes. Steve Smith is one of them, having survived Broad’s first two balls in the second innings at Adelaide.
“We were surprised because there were probably two wickets that would have suited him well,” Smith said. “He bowled well in Adelaide and has always been a tough opponent for me. He’s gotten me out a few times, and I’ve scored runs against him. It’s been a good fight, in my opinion. For a long time, he and Jimmy [Anderson] have been world-class performers. Maybe we’ll see them both this time week.”
Broad’s advancing years naturally focus on his Test future, as does Anderson, who is older than his long-standing new-ball partner but still a first-choice pick on this tour. The latter bowler was unable to play at the Gabba due to concerns about his fitness following a rain-affected buildup and calf niggle upon arrival in Australia.
While Broad has stated that he will not make any “emotional decisions” about continuing his 150-cap and 526-wicket career until the tour concludes, Anderson stated, “I have no intention of finishing” and added, “from speaking to Stuart Broad, it is clear he definitely has not had enough yet either.”
On Monday, Root refused to confirm Broad’s return for Robinson and, when asked about the former’s future, said, “All I’d say is from Stuart’s point of view, when he gets his opportunity, he’ll look to take it.” He’s the type of person who is always trying to prove everyone wrong. He’s done exceptionally well when he’s missed out in the past.”
When asked about recent teammate support for his captaincy, including the only viable replacement in Ben Stokes, Root said, “Obviously that’s nice to hear.” I’m very dedicated to earning the opportunity to play for England. Then to be able to captain England is a huge honor for me.
“All I ever want to do is try to get the best out of the group, to see us perform and play at a level everyone back home is proud of. It’s hurt me deeply that we’ve not managed to do that on this trip and I’m desperate for us to put in those performances. I really care about the role and it would be nice to finish this tour off in a much better way.”