Broad will play for England despite bereavement

England kick off their three-game NatWest Series against Bangladesh this afternoon, with seamer Stuart Broad expected to be involved despite the death of his step-mother yesterday.

Chris Broad, himself a former England international and now a match referee, announced his wife Miche had lost her battle with motor neurone disease shortly after Broad jnr had completed net practice for the series opener at Trent Bridge.

Chris Broad has recently been on leave from his officiating duties as he cared for Miche but said in a statement it was her wish that all three family members - his daughter Gemma is also involved in the England set-up as an analyst - continue to fulfil their cricket commitments.

As such, Stuart Broad is expected to be named in Andrew Strauss' side on his home ground today.

A statement released by Chris Broad yesterday read: "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wife, Miche. She has been battling bravely with motor neurone disease for some time now and she unfortunately passed away this morning.

"It was Miche's wish that, on her passing, Gemma, Stuart and I should continue to fulfil our commitments and, in her honour, we will endeavour to do so."

Should Broad not be named in the starting XI, back-up seamer Ajmal Shahzad, who last featured in the ODI victory over Scotland last month, could be in line for a recall.

One man who as already been ruled out of the match, and the series, is star batsman Kevin Pietersen.

The management were already planning to rest their number three against the Tigers when a thigh strain made their decision for them.

Ian Bell, who scored 158 on England Lions duty against India A this week, is expected to come in for his first ODI cap since November 2008 and captain Andrew Strauss feels a new-found self-belief will ensure he makes a success of his chance.

"I think he has made a conscious effort to be more aggressive," said Strauss. "He's played, by all accounts, very positively and very aggressively for both Warwickshire and the Lions.

"He's always had the shots, the key is always when to use them. At the moment, he's taking on the shots more and finding he's a good enough player they'll come off more times than not."

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza knows his side face an uphill battle after some shoddy recent performances, but he would still rather face the likes of Pietersen than take advantage of his absence.

"England have just beaten Australia in three matches so it is not going to be easy," he said.

"But playing against someone like Pietersen is a great experience for us.

"A player like him is amazing to play against and when KP plays we feel we can learn so many things from him, so it's not good for us (that he is injured)."

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