Wednesday, 22 November 2017

England ready to ‘swarm’ Australia batsmen at Ashes, says Broad

Stuart Broad

LONDON: Stuart Broad says England are looking to play on the patience and egos of the Australian batsman as the visiting team enters one of its toughest assignments in recent years.

England, who have won the Ashes in their backyard each time since that historic win in 2005, have also suffered two 5-0 whitewashes at the hands of Australia Down Under. However, their win in 2010/11 Ashes seems to be serving no examples as England are mulling over reapplying the strategy that they used in South Africa recently.

“We had a theory in 2015-16 in South Africa that when a new batsman came in, we’d swarm them for the first 15 balls or so. That way, if they make any mistake, they are out. And if they score 20 off 15 balls, you can always drag it back.”

“I’d like to do a similar thing again. If any world-class batsman is going to make a mistake, it is going to be in the first 20 minutes. If they drive you through the covers three times, it doesn’t matter but then settle into a more defensive field.”

Having played only one summer at home with the likes of Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscombe in their ranks, Australia’s batting is being considered brittle which is the same with England. Australia’s hopes will rely heavily on their captain and World No 1 Steve Smith and opener David Warner.

Broad says a defensive approach could be the key. “I don’t know if playing on egos is the right way to say it, but if you can cut off a few of their boundaries then you have more chance of them making a mistake. I don’t want to sound as if this is a negative plan because, although it always looks great to have five slips and a gully, is that playing to our strengths on these pitches?” he said.

England coach Trevor Bayliss seconded the theory by saying: “The Australian players like to play their shots. That’s the way they’ve played for a number of years.”

“Any team where the batters play shots, especially if there’s not much in the wicket, you have to try and keep things tight, frustrate them and try and make them go after the wrong ball. The Australian wickets are flatter than a lot of other wickets around the world. That could be part of our line of attack,” Bayliss added.

Broad, who was England’s most successful bowler in their 5-0 whitewash further added they will not be looking to blast the Australians out.

“We’re not going to blast the Australians out. We don’t have a Brett Lee-type bowler who can bowl 95mph reverse-swinging yorkers. We’re not going to blast Australia out like Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison did in 2005,” he said.

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