The England vs West Indies 1st Test match kickstarted in Southampton on July 8. It also marked the revival of cricket and a busy summer ahead for England. However, in a controversial choice, talismanic English pacer Stuart Broad was excluded from the playing XI in the opening Test. Instead, the selectors went ahead and gave a chance to Northumberland pacer Mark Wood.
Broad, who is England’s second-highest wicket-taker of all time with 485 scalps in the longest format of the game, last missed a home Test eight years ago when he was rested against West Indies in 2012. He averaged 23.06 in six Tests in England last summer and 19.42 in England’s last series, in South Africa, too. Not many bowlers are left out with records like that.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Broad said, I’ve been angry, frustrated, gutted because it is quite a hard decision to understand – I have probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years.”
? I’ve been angry, frustrated, gutted because it is quite a hard decision to understand – I have probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years ?
Stuart Broad discusses his omission from the first #ENGvWI Test
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) July 10, 2020
The hosts opted to go for Anderson, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer alongside stand-in captain Ben Stokes and spinner Dom Bess, leaving out Broad from the first Test.
Wood, on the other hand, has more to his game than pace. He has taken 19 wickets at an average of 14.66 – and while that is a small sample size, the way he has bowled in recent times – such as England’s most recent Test, in Johannesburg, when he took nine wickets in the match, or in the most recent Test against West Indies when he claimed a maiden five-for – rendered him a hugely attractive option.