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England v India:

team director Andy Flower calls on Stuart Broad to forget playing the ‘the enforcer’ role


Andy Flower has told Stuart Broad to concentrate on improving his accuracy and forget playing the role of England’s enforcer.

Broad has gained a reputation for being a stroppy and aggressive leader of England’s pace attack but he finds his position under threat ahead of the first Test against India at Lord’s on Thursday.

England dropped him for their one-day international series decider against Sri Lanka earlier this month and he now finds himself in a straight fight for his Test place with the recalled Yorkshire seamer Tim Bresnan.

“I didn’t think he bowled as badly as his figures suggested against Sri Lanka. I’ve got a lot of respect for Broad as a young cricketer,” Flower, the England team director, said.

“He’s got pace and bounce and he’s a great competitor – but he can be more accurate. I’ve heard some crazy stuff about him being – and I hate this word – an ‘enforcer’.

“His job is to create pressure and to take wickets and to do that you generally bowl at off stump. So his job is not to rough up the opposition. It is not to be this ridiculous ‘enforcer’.

“He’s passionate about playing for England but he has a responsibility to behave in the right way. He is perfectly well aware of it because he’s smart. He must embrace that responsibility and act accordingly.”

It was England bowling coach David Saker who originally said: “We want him to be the enforcer in our team. There is no better bowler in the world than Stuart at bowling bouncers.”

Broad was sent back to county cricket last week to regain form ahead of the India series. He took six wickets for Nottinghamshire against Somerset and bowled 50 overs in a match for the first time in his career, but Broad has yet to discover whether he has convinced Flower and his fellow selectors that he is back to his best.

“We always select our best XI and Stuart has been a big part of that for the last few years.

“That’s the criteria we’ll use when picking the side for Lords. He’s in the squad but we’ve yet to make a decision about the best XI,” Flower said.

The India series will pit England against their former coach Duncan Fletcher and Flower against a side who sounded him out last winter as a possible successor to Gary Kirsten. Flower subsequently signed a new contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“There was an investigation by them last year to see if I would be interested. But I’m very committed to doing this job,” he said.

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