'Wouldn't believe it': Aussies shocked by 'staggering' England move

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Australian captain Pat Cummins and other players readily admitted they were surprised by England's decision not to play Stuart Broad in the first Ashes Test. Pictures: Getty Images
Australian captain Pat Cummins and other players readily admitted they were surprised by England's decision not to play Stuart Broad in the first Ashes Test. Pictures: Getty Images

Members of the Australian Test team have admitted England's decision not to pick fast bowler Stuart Broad for the first Ashes Test caught them by surprise.

In a move that shocked not only the Australian players but much of the cricket world, England's selectors opted against playing Broad in the Brisbane Test at the toss.

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Neither Broad nor fast bowling great Jimmy Anderson are playing in the Gabba match, the first time neither of the pair played an Ashes match since 2006.

The surprise selection move caught much of the cricket world off guard, and criticism was only compounded as England were rolled for 147 on day one.

New Australian captain Pat Cummins wasn't shy in saying the decision came out of the blue to the home side.

"I thought one of those two would play in every game, if not both," Cummins said.

"Surprised.

"But they've got plenty of other bowlers to step in."

The image of Anderson and Broad, who insisted last week he was ready to go after recovering from a calf injury, running drinks grated many of England's fans and former players.

Mitchell Starc quipped he was glad he didn't have to break the bad news to the legends, the only members of the current Test squad who were part of England's victorious 2010-11 group.

"If you asked anyone a couple of days ago, no one would believe you (they would both miss out)," Starc told the Seven Network.

"To take 300 Test matches and over 1000 wickets out of their side is interesting."

Express paceman Mark Wood, five-Test seamer Ollie Robinson, right-armer Chris Woakes and gun allrounder Ben Stokes will perform fast-bowling duties this week.

Ollie Pope explained that Wood's pace, Robinson's impressive debut home summer and Woakes' batting resulted in Broad missing out.

"That's our reasons behind it. But yeah, obviously it's a bit above my pay grade," Pope said.

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan was "staggered" by the snubbing of Broad, while Fox Cricket pundit Mark Waugh termed it a "huge gamble".

Waugh was particularly surprised that England seemed to be more concerned with their chances in the second Test in Adelaide rather than trying to earn a win first up in Brisbane.

“Having left out their two main bowlers, I can’t believe that selection. Your first Test in Australia, you want to play your best team don’t you?" Waugh questioned.

“Play this test, play the conditions in front of you. That’s why both Broad and Anderson should’ve been playing, both of them. Neither of them are playing, which I think is a huge gamble by the English selectors.”

Fellow commentator Shane Warne was equally perplexed, particularly with Broad's strong record against Australian opener David Warner in recent years.

Stuart Broad has been rested for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, leaving England without him or fellow strike bowler Jimmy Anderson. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)
Stuart Broad has been rested for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, leaving England without him or fellow strike bowler Jimmy Anderson. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

Broad was dominant against Warner during the last Ashes series in England, and though most believe the conditions at home will favour Warner more, Warne said it was still a missed opportunity to put pressure on Warner.

“I promise you, as a bowler, if you’ve knocked over someone and got the wood on someone, they know it and you know it and you become a better bowler when you’ve got the wood on someone,” Warne said.

“Just to set the tone when they first walked out there, imagine if Broad was there with Warner on strike for the first ball.

“Warner would be thinking ‘Oh no, here we go again with Broad’, the whole team would be lifted so you could set your tone straight away."

With AAP

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