England star Stuart Broad has questioned the wisdom of timing the upcoming India series in the middle of a packed summer of cricket, according to BBC Sport.
Tight scheduling means that within 42 days, the Three Lions will contest 25 days of Test cricket, starting yesterday at Trent Bridge.
Broad has hit out at what he calls a “crazy” timetable, though there is a chance he will not take part in all five Tests, while he continues to suffer with tendonitis in his knee.
The Notts bowler knows more than anyone the impact such a strenuous workload can have, as he has struggled with numerous injuries throughout his international career. Wicket keeper Matt Prior is also believed to be struggling, amid calls that Lancashire’s Jos Buttler should have received the call instead.
England’s miserable form has coincided with a six months crammed full of an Ashes series, a T20 World Cup, an ODI series and two Tests against Sri Lanka, of which drew the first and narrowly lost the second.
However, India’s visit represents the perfect opportunity for them to end that streak, for beleaguered captain Alistair Cook, and his side more generally. The last time India came to Trent Bridge, England won by 319 runs.
And now, England can expect some familiarity about the way India set up, coming up against a friendly face in their own former head coach Duncan Fletcher.
Fletcher, who in 2005 became the first England coach to win the Ashes in 18 years, has several records to overcome if he is to oversee victory over his former colleagues.
India's woeful away record
India, meanwhile, haven’t won a Test series away from home in three years, a statistic that becomes astonishing upon closer examination of their squad – Broad and co will have to contend with the likes of Virat Koli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Cheteshwar Pujara.
The odds are in their favour, though, as India have enjoyed less success in England than anywhere else in the world, with a win percentage of just 18%.
Nonetheless, if Broad’s fears turn out to be correct, England could suffer burnout; their opponents, in contrast, have played just three ODIs against Bangladesh since losing the World Cup final to Sri Lanka in April.
Even in their tour matches in England against Leicestershire and Derbyshire, they have rotated heavily. The Test series will be followed by a further five one-days, plus a T20, so England will not have a break until mid-September.
Cook, more than anyone, could certainly do with some time out. A cauldron of pressure has been boiling around the captain with every defeat. That respite may not arrive for some time yet, and should England struggle against India, the eye may now turn not on the captain, but on those who agreed to such a gruelling calendar.
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