Despite breaking his nose in England’s innings and 54-run win over India at Old Trafford, Stuart Broad is still in with a chance of playing the series decider at The Oval, thanks to a supportive mask.
A protective mask would safeguard the 28-year-old’s face when both batting and bowling, and could allow him to play a part as England look to secure the series.
Alastair Cook’s side have won consecutive Test matches against India to take a 2-1 lead with one match still to play. And the hosts could do with having their best players available if they are to prevent MS Dhoni and co. from levelling the series.
Before being struck between the grille and peak of his helmet by a Varun Aaron bouncer, Broad had led England’s bowling attack in the initial stages of the fourth Test last week.
The seamer took 6-25 as the tourists were all out for 152 in the first innings in Manchester. After moving into the ascendency, Peter Moores’ men never looked back, despite the absence of Broad later in the match.
It was during England’s reply with the bat that the Nottinghamshire fast bowler received his
injury. With the home side looking to up their run rate and put their opponents back in at the crease, Broad smashed Aaron for two consecutive sixes.
But it wasn’t to be third time lucky. An attempt to hook yet another short delivery over the
boundary rope was to no avail, as an inside edge sent the ball flying towards the batsman’s head.
In a freak accident, the ball lodged itself between the frame of Broad’s helmet, and his face
unfortunately took the full brunt of the blow – similar to how Craig Kieswetter was injured for Somerset earlier this season.
Broad retired hurt immediately after the incident, and didn’t return to the field for the
remainder of the match as England wrapped up victory within three days.
Stitches were required on the broken nose before X-rays were taken at a hospital, confirming a fracture.
But now, one half of England’s opening bowling attack is striving for selection in the final Test of the summer.
An unchanged 13-man squad has been chosen for the series decider at The Oval, with Broad facing competition for his place from Steve Finn and Ben Stokes.
However, the 2010 World T20 winner’s spirits – unlike his nose – were not broken on Sunday. He took to social media to announce his intentions for the fifth Test in London.
Broad tweeted: “Little bit sore this morning but not too bad! On to The Oval! (With a mask).”
Professional sportsmen have used masks for some time. In football, images of Paul Gascoigne and Fernando Torres respectively, have become iconic.
And another masked man will hope to menace the Indian batting line-up once again in the final of five Tests.
The fifth Test begins at The Oval this Friday.