Stuart Broad is confident that England will improve this summer despite the looming absence of Kevin Pietersen, just as they did after Andrew Flintoff retired.
A new era for the England team begins on Friday with a one-day international against Scotland in Aberdeen, the first game of Peter Moores’ second tenure as England coach. It has been a traumatic winter, with departures of different kinds for Pietersen, Andy Flower, Graham Gooch and Ashley Giles.
Pietersen will be playing for Surrey this summer and threatens to cast a shadow over England’s series against Sri Lanka and India. Broad, though, who is still returning to fitness, recalled the very public retirement of Flintoff after the 2009 Ashes, and the successes England went on to have: winning the Ashes 3-1 in Australia in 2010-11 and reaching world No 1 the following summer.
“I don’t see it as a shadow,” Broad said yesterday. “Every player gets dropped and every player moves on and cricket will always continue when everyone is out of the set-up. I remember there was a big thing when Freddie retired, how would the England team cope? And we had the most successful three years the England team have ever had. It can happen.”
Pietersen is reportedly keen to attend the first Test of the summer, against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on 12 June. Broad joked that Alastair Cook and Peter Moores – who famously fell out with Pietersen in 2008 – might not necessarily want him to see the players.
“It would surprise me if [Pietersen] nipped in [to the dressing room], to be honest,” Broad said, at the launch of Royal London’s sponsorship of one-day cricket. “Of course he would be welcome. Actually, there there is a sign on the door that says ‘anyone is welcome at the coach and captain’s discretion’. Fortunately I won’t be captain at Lord’s and it won’t be my call.”
Broad said that he was “really happy” with the reappointment of Moores, who gave him his Test debut as a 21-year-old in 2007. “He is very passionate and you feed off his energy. He has had a lot of success with Sussex and Lancashire and as a player I was hugely disappointed when he left in January 2009, but am delighted that he has got another opportunity. I would expect to see the team play with a lot of passion and enthusiasm this summer, which was missing in Australia.”
Even those players who played under Moores last time, Broad insisted, were supportive of his return. “The guys who were involved last time loved Mooresy, and there is a lot of enthusiasm about him coming back into the setup. Just having meetings with him you get how excited and how logically he talks about cricket. He thinks slightly differently about the game.”
Broad will not be involved in the T20 match or the one-day series against Sri Lanka in late May and early June. “It gives other guys an opportunity,” he explained, “and gives me a really good chance to get my knee a bit stronger and play some Championship cricket before the Test matches.” He hopes to start bowling again next week before playing Championship games for Nottinghamshire against Durham at home (25-28 May) and Sussex away (1-4 June) before the first Test.