England made a mistake in overlooking Stuart Broad’s new-ball expertise for the first Test against Windies, says Nasser Hussain.
Broad missed out on selection in Barbados as the tourists opted to play three seamers – James Anderson plus all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran – and two spinners, in Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, leaving no room for the 32-year-old.
Joe Root’s side has the upper hand after the opening exchanges after Anderson’s 4-33 restricted the home side to 264-8 – but Hussain said the selectors were in an unenviable position.
You don’t get every selection right – and don’t judge it after day one because on day four or five, it may well start spinning and second time around, you need a second spinner.
I think today was a mistake and I’m not being wise after the event. I would have gone with Broad this morning. We’re talking about Anderson being a champion – you’ve got somebody else with 433 Test match wickets.
If someone had said to me a year ago that in Bridgetown at this venue you were going to have Sam Curran opening the bowling instead of Stuart Broad, I would have laughed in their face.
Sam Curran is an exceptional cricketer; he is not a better new-ball bowler at this venue than Stuart Broad.
I would have gone the other way but I understand the difficulties of who they need to leave out.
It’s easy saying who should play. A captain’s decision is to put your arm on someone’s shoulder and say ‘I’m leaving you out’. That’s the difficult one.
Anderson transformed England’s fortunes with an inspired spell late on that helped turn a score of 174-3 into 264-8 and Hussain said the changing nature of the pitch would give the selectors further food for thought.
It looked in that last session why the West Indies have gone with their four big lads – and England thinking ‘crikey, I wish we had gone with Broad’.
It looked like the taller lads coming in and hitting the deck reasonably hard at a good length, it would just get slightly uneven.
But it definitely got quicker as the day progressed, so it could well be a handful tomorrow for England’s openers against the West Indies steaming in; it’s a good pitch but they are going to have to play well.
Anderson became the first England seamer to take 200 Test wickets overseas – and also took his combined Test-wicket haul with Broad to a remarkable 1,000 scalps on a day when his accuracy and patience reaped dividends.
England have had a very good day, reflected Hussain. James Anderson has had an exceptional day.
Today has shown me what an exceptional, champion cricketer Anderson is and how tough Test cricket can be.
Windies worked seriously hard to get themselves in that position and then Anderson comes and blows them away right at the end. That was Test match cricket at its best and Jimmy Anderson at his best.
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