England hopes rest on Broad shoulders

Stuart Broad's progress is likely to be one of the key factors in the coming months as England seek to ensure history does not repeat itself with another Ashes-winning hangover.

Captain Andrew Strauss was part of the team which scored a shock series victory at home to Australia in 2005, only to follow up with an off-colour winter on the sub-continent - which began with a 2-0 defeat in Pakistan.

This time, of course, he is in charge of a team who have again beaten Australia and face a tough first winter assignment.

For Pakistan, read Test cricket's number one team South Africa.

There is another difference too, though - because Andrew Flintoff was the cornerstone of England's team four years ago, whereas Broad has been identified by many as the man to take over the all-rounder's mantle since his predecessor's retirement from Test cricket after an Ashes-clinching win at The Oval two months ago.

As England today take the first steps of their initial preparation in Bloemfontein for the limited-overs leg of their South Africa tour, Strauss has already made it clear it is unfair of anyone to expect 23-year-old bowling all-rounder Broad to step straight into Flintoff's boots at a time when his skills are still developing.

"Stuart has his head screwed on. There has been a lot of media attention on him, but he realises that there's much room for him to improve," said the captain.

"He's excited about that and he's very keen to contribute to this team.

"We're excited about him, but the last thing I want to do is put a huge amount of expectation on his shoulders.

"You must give people room to improve, and we hope he'll continue that development this winter."

Strauss is one person who will not be sucked into any unreasonable demands on Broad to be an instant and direct replacement for a player England have often had to get by without before, given Flintoff's struggles with injuries.

"It's not a realistic expectation for Broad to fill Flintoff's shoes in both disciplines in the short term," he spells out.

"It would be wrong to heap that expectation on his shoulders.

"Over the years, we've had to do without Flintoff quite often - and what we've found is that we've done quite well by everyone taking responsibility and playing a bit better.

"Stuart Broad is not a like-for-like replacement for Flintoff anyway. But he has his own set of skills, some of which are world class and some of which need work.

"We don't want him to be the saviour we turn to - we need all 11 to do that."

As for that post-Ashes feeling, Strauss is determined there will be no re-run of the 2005/06 let-down - although he takes issue with suggestions England's problems four years ago were of their own making.

"The perception of the post-2005 period is that we took our eye off the ball quite badly," he recognises.

"I'm not comfortable with that myself.

"I remember that Pakistan tour and how hard we worked at it. We had a number of very crucial injuries - which didn't help."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific