Broad form is concern for England


Stuart Broad’s lacklustre bowling form is an “issue” England need to confront as they seek to consolidate their famous second-Test win over India. Alastair Cook’s tourists levelled the four-match series with a 10-wicket victory at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday, where Kevin Pietersen and the captain’s centuries and Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann’s wickets were too much for the hosts. Hopes are therefore raised that they can become the first England team since 1984-85 to win a Test series in India. An atmosphere of renewed confidence is evident throughout the team, with the exception of vice-captain Broad – who declared himself fit for the second Test, despite feeling unwell the day beforehand, and then managed only 12 wicketless overs at a cost of 60 runs. England bowling coach David Saker is doing all he can to help Broad rediscover his best form in time for the third Test in Kolkata – a match which could yet instead feature Steven Finn. The latter was on Tuesday set to test his recovery from a thigh strain, in a three-day match for the England Performance Programme squad against the DY Patil Academy in Mumbai. As for Broad, Saker said: “It is a bit of an issue. “He has not bowled as we would have liked. But he’s not the first bowler to come over here and find it hard.” Even some of the world’s best all-time pace bowlers have struggled, in fact, to be effective in sub-continental conditions.
Saker added: “Stuart’s not a great yet. He has to learn ways to become great. “If he gets the next Test he has to be ready for it. “During my tenure as bowling coach, I haven’t had too many players down in confidence and form.”