Stuart Broad’s lack of form is an “issue”, according to David Saker, the England bowling coach, who on Tuesday watched Steven Finn return to action in a friendly match.
Broad, who bowled only ten overs in the warm-up games because of a bruised heel, has not taken a Test wicket on the tour so far. In Ahmedabad, the England vice-captain looked down on pace, delivering 24 overs for 97 runs on a brutally flat track.
He was a doubt for the second Test after falling ill in the days leading up to the game but took his place in the side to bowl only 12 overs in India’s first innings, for 60 runs. Broad’s batting has also not yet clicked, with 34 runs from his three innings to date.
With Finn recovering from his thigh injury to take four wickets today for the England Performance Programme on the first day of a three-day match against the DY Patil Cricket Academy, Broad looks under increasing pressure to keep his place in the senior side.
Speaking about the seamer’s form, 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.
“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. I hope I can do some stuff over the next few days that can help.”
The Australian also welcomed the return of Finn but has warned that England’s fastest bowler is not yet fully fit after suffering a thigh strain in the first warm-up game last month.
“He’s got that X factor, a bit of pace, that height that always means you could get variable bounce over here, so his name will be bandied around for sure for that second seamer’s spot,” Saker said.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed he gets through, number one; if he gets through unscathed and bowls well, his name will definitely be talked about for selection. We were really confident he’d be right for this Test, so I’m not sure.
“I’ve just got my fingers crossed he gets through; if he does, we can make a decision. We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We want to make sure he gets through his three or four spells and gets some rhythm. Then his name will come up.”
Despite his recent lack of form, Broad has been the most prolific seamer in Test cricket this year, taking 40 wickets at 31.70, including a career-best 11-wicket haul against West Indies at Lord’s in May.