England wary of workload

  • Last Updated: July 1 2014, 17:08 BST

England will name their squad for the first Test against India on Wednesday, wary of the heavy workload ahead.

Stuart Broad: May need a rest with five Tests in six weeks
Stuart Broad: May need a rest with five Tests in six weeks

Central to deliberations over a largely predictable announcement - one which may include a return for Ben Stokes - will be the longer-term plan, through five back-to-back Tests in six weeks, to try to eke out England's pace-bowling resources for this hectic summer and beyond.

England's schedule to face India - starting at Trent Bridge just 15 days after the end of two back-to-back Tests against Sri Lanka, which went to the last ball and then the penultimate one on the final evening - is unprecedented.

The aching limbs of James Anderson, Stuart Broad et al are sure to be a pressing issue at some point - and the noises already from England's management, and players, suggest they are very mindful if not necessarily resigned to some necessary squad rotation en route to next month's potential series decider at The Oval.

Broad, rested for the first part of the English summer with a chronic knee complaint and absent therefore from a limited-overs programme against Sri Lanka before returning for those two punishing Tests, makes no bones about the effects felt so far - but is optimistic he can see the summer through.

"I must admit the Lord's Test match, emotionally and physically, was really draining," he said.

"I've not played in a Test series where both matches have gone down to the final over.

"Those three days in between Lord's and Headingley were just constantly spent trying to get right.

"I actually felt fine at the start of the (Leeds) Test match, but I'll admit that 10-over spell in the middle of day three about killed me off."

Anderson is an obvious case in point too, three years Broad's senior and set to turn 32 next month - with an extra 25 Tests behind him.

Both are proven match-winners, and England must therefore balance risk and reward in the workload prescribed during a critical series which will be an acid test for many of the foundations of captain Alastair Cook and returning coach Peter Moores' new era.

Broad is under no illusions about his personal responsibility.

"It's something I need to be aware of in this India series," Broad said.

"They are pretty much back-to-back, so I'll have to do my recovery really well.

"But it's okay. I can still fire up and bowl and hope to play a really strong part in these Test matches."

Anderson had very mixed feelings when he was rested mid-summer against West Indies two years ago - and Broad naturally empathises.

"It's the worst phone call you can get that you're not playing the next game for England," he said.

"A couple of years ago, when Jimmy dropped out for a Test match, we lost the balance of the set-up a little bit.

"I think you just have to weigh up how the match has gone.

"If India score 500 every innings the bowlers are going to be knackered - but if we can bowl India out cheaply, we can keep playing."

With that Plan A in mind, Broad and Anderson are among the vast majority of names inked in for Nottingham.

Cook, despite his troubles and critics, is too of course - while the new players introduced since the end of England's Ashes whitewash last winter collectively put in most of the eye-catching performances at Lord's and Headingley.

The exception, arguably, is Chris Jordan - who followed an encouraging debut in London with a wicketless experience in Leeds.

He nonetheless remains near the head of that very important queue as back-up to frontline seamers Broad, Anderson and the resurgent Liam Plunkett.

Jordan is the likeliest 12th and last name in the Trent Bridge list, at the expense of Chris Woakes, if England do accommodate a recall for Stokes.

Many anticipated the latter, the sole partial success of England's miserable winter Down Under, would be back to face Sri Lanka following his self-inflicted wrist injury.

The selectors took a cautious approach instead, but the time may be right again for a player involved again in England's training get-together in Loughborough this week yet intriguingly named too in Durham's NatWest T20 Blast squad to face Yorkshire on Wednesday.

Possible England squad for first Test v India: AN Cook (Captain), SD Robson, GS Ballance, IR Bell, JE Root, MM Ali, MJ Prior (wkt), BA Stokes, SCJ Broad, LE Plunkett, JM Anderson, CJ Jordan.