Thursday, December 9, 2010

Who will step in for Broad?

The only black mark on what was otherwise magical day for England at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday was an injury to pace bowler Stuart Broad.

The Nottinghamshire paceman tore a stomach muscle on day four and played no part in the final day rout of the Australians that saw England go 1-0 up in the series.

After being examined by doctors it became clear that Broad will miss the entire series, meaning a place has opened up in Andrew Strauss' rampant side. Anyone who has bet on England to win the Ashes will have been delighted by the way things have gone.

But who will take Broad's place? A warm-up game against Victoria this week will see a three way shoot-out between Ajmal Shahzad, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan.

Tim Bresnan perhaps has the most experience of the trio and has the added bonus of being able to bat. However, England's batting line-up is hardly in need of strengthening right now, meaning Chris Tremlett could be favoured.

The Surrey paceman is the same height as Steven Finn 6' 7", so is best able to take advantage of the WACA pitch - which is notoriously hard, fast and bouncy. He also posted the best figures in England's final warm-up game against Australia A in Hobart and the Ashes betting offers suggest he is most likely to come in.

Ajmal Shahzad may be the wildcard option. The 25-yard-old has only played one Test against Bangladesh and was initially travelling with the England A side, but when brought across to play in the game against Australian A he impressed many with his fizzing deliveries and aggressive attitude towards the Australian batsmen.

I would be tempted to go with Tremlett. For me picking Bresnan would be an over cautious move given our momentum in the series while Shahzad is a bit too inexperienced to throw in straight away. Tremlett, who has ensured horrendous injury worries in recent years, finally looks fit and firing and could pick up where Broad left off in terrorising the startled Australian batting line-up.

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