Emerging Broad on ICC shortlist

Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Alastair Cook. Naked. Ewww...Everyone knows that Stuart Broad is going to be in and around the England team for many years to come. After making his international debut in a one day international against Pakistan in 2006, is has been clear to everyone that he was born to play international cricket. Since then, he has become an established member of the England team and this has been recognised by the International Cricket Council. Broad is one of four players shortlisted for the emerging player of the year award.

It is good to see that his achievements at the tender age of 22 haven’t gone unnoticed. He may have struggled slightly with the ball in the Test matches this summer, but since Kevin Pietersen took over the captaincy there appears to be significant improvement. In the Test match at The Oval he took five wickets and then in the ODI series he helped England dismiss South Africa for 83 by taking five wickets in an impressive ten over spell. The fact that Pietersen opted to give him the new ball in the ODI games has done wonders for his confidence.

Of course, had it just been for his bowling, I’m not sure Broad’s place in the team would be quite so secure. Nor would he have been nominated for any awards. This is because the thing that makes Broad such an exciting talent is his outstanding natural ability with the bat. In the nine Test matches he has played, he averages 37.20. In the games against South Africa this summer he averaged 53.66. Not bad for a number eight batsman is it? There was even talk that he should have moved up to number six in the batting order to accommodate Andrew Flintoff’s preference to batting at seven. This has obviously now changed with Freddie’s return to form, but it does show how much belief people have in Broad’s batting.

For the future though, I think that number eight is his position. The England batting line-up looks a lot stronger if Flintoff is in form at six, then Matt Prior as the wicket-keeper at seven and the talented Broad at eight. This has a healthy and balanced look to it and it has a lot to do with the batting ability of Broad. It is, of course, his bowling that needs to be his main discipline though and I’m confident this will be the case based on his recent displays.

Young shaver Stuart BroadSomething he needs to do is work out what type of bowler his is. I have witnessed him mixing up his line and length and trying to be an out and out quick bowler. It is my belief though that he should adopt a Glenn McGrath style of bowling. Bowl every single ball in the same areas. Frustrate the batsmen and rely on consistency. If he did this, I would place a lot of my cricket betting money on him taking plenty of wickets for England. With the likes of Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff in the side, Broad doesn’t need to be an over-the-top aggressive bowler. Instead, he should plug away with consistent line and length – something he has done with success in the games since the change of skipper.

For what it is worth, I think it is unlikely Broad will actually win the award for the emerging player of the year. I think the cricket odds will tell you that new Sri Lanka spin king Ajantha Mendis is in line to pick up the award. He has taken an incredible 26 wickets in three test matches and 33 wickets in 13 ODI’s since making his debut in April 2008. He seems a remarkable talent and one who will end up being the long-term replacement for Muttiah Muralitharan.

Broad won’t be too concerned about this though. He should be more concerned with resting up ahead of the winter tours of West Indies and India. I mean, if he continues to improve his bowling and continues to maintain his excellent batting form, this certainly won’t be the last award he will be nominated for during what should be a long and successful career with England.

Thomas Rooney – Freelance Sports Journalist

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ICC Champions Trophy – Epic Fail

ICC Champions Trophy - Epic Fail

The International Cricket Council has confirmed that next month’s Champions Trophy has been postponed until October 2009. With South Africa pulling out and pretty much every other team set to follow suit, it’s no surprise that the competition has been cancelled but the question that now remains is whether the competition has a place in the international cricket calendar.

I’ve yet to understand the need for another 50 over ODI trophy. We have the World Cup every four years. Isn’t that enough? What is the ICC Champions Trophy if not a watered down version of the World Cup? What is the difference apart from fewer teams are invited to take part?

Alec Stewart suggested on TMS the other day that the Champions Trophy should be held every four years rather than its current bi-annual status. He cited the football European Championship as being a competition that fills the four year void between World Cups but the key difference here is the teams taking part. The major teams taking part in the football World Cup and European Championships are different. This is not the case with the cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy.

As far as I can see, the ICC Champions Trophy is nothing other than another opportunity for the bigwigs in Dubai to milk yet more money out of cricket fans, TV companies and corporate sponsors.

Patrick Kidd over at Line and Length posted the other week about this ridiculous new Champions League Twenty20 that is being shoehorned into the 8 day gap between the ODI’s and Test series between England and India. As I said in the comments, how long will it be before the idiots at the ICC kill the goose that lay the golden egg?

I’m a bit of a traditionalist and prefer Test match cricket but, whether I like it or not, Twenty20 cricket has introduced a whole new audience to the game which can only be good for the long term. However, in typical fashion, the ICC have decided to try to fit in as many Twenty20 games into the calendar to secure more lucrative sponsorship deals.

According to the ICC Mission Statement, one of their key roles is to optimise ‘its commercial rights and properties for the benefit of its Members’. Gotcha. So these tournaments are not for the benefit of the fans of the game, then.

If the ICC had a genuine interest in the game, the players and the fans they would scrap the Champions Trophy, scrap the current bi-annual World Twenty20 tournament and run a Twenty20 World Cup every four years. I’d rather see a tournament that actually meant something to the players than watch the ICC Cash Cow Cup.

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