Stuart Broad may become the man in the mask if he plays for England in the final Test against India. He was named in a squad of 13 today despite having his nose broken in the fourth match of the series on Saturday.
Broad was good-humoured enough to post photographs of his injury on Twitter today. The ball from fast bowler Varun Aaron burst through the small gap between the peak of Broad’s helmet and the grill at Old Trafford.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said Broad “will be treated over the course of the week and the medical team anticipates he will be available for the fifth Test”, which starts on Friday. Blood flowed from the wound on the bridge of the nose as Broad reeled behind the stumps at the Pavilion End.
After X-rays revealed the break, tests were carried out for concussion. But Broad was upbeat today, tweeting: “Little bit sore this morning but not too bad! Doc did a great job with the stitches. On to the Oval! (with a mask).”
Several footballers have worn masks recently after facial injuries and Broad’s injury will reignite the debate about helmets. On Saturday a fast ball went through a gap but if the gap was narrowed the batsman’s line of vision would be impaired.
Broad’s absence could not stop England winning easily, but it was still clear they are not the same without Broad and Jimmy Anderson bowling in tandem. The support fast bowling, with Liam Plunkett still injured, remains much less probing. Broad’s return could prove crucial.