Stuart Broad has stated that winning the Ashes in Australia will depend entirely on how his side’s batsmen fare and believes that the fast bowlers’ impact will be neutralized if the side fails to put runs on the board. Broad observed that it was the batsmen who won the Ashes for England in 2010/11.
Despite the next Ashes series more than a year away, England have already started building the side and prepping for their test Down Under and the same was visible in the first Test of their home summer, where the management picked Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, two men identified as the biggest weapons to beat Australia, ahead of the senior pacers. Lack of express-pace bowlers has been identified as one of the biggest reasons for England failing on Australian soil - their Ashes record in Australia since 2012 is 0-9 - and thus the duo of Wood and Archer are being seen as the men who can put an end to the long-standing problem.
However, veteran quick Stuart Broad has begged to differ and has stated that it is, in fact, the batsmen - and not pacers - who will be key to winning in Australia. Broad, 34 and not a certain starter for the 2021/22 Ashes, opined that the quicks will be rendered ineffective if batsmen don’t put runs on the board and noted how it was big runs from the likes of Cook and KP - and not express pace - that helped England win the Ashes on Aussie soil in 2010/11.
"If you want to know what it takes to win Test matches in Australia, it's not whether you have someone who can get up to 95mph. Glenn McGrath was still pretty useful coming up to his 37th birthday and bowling at 80mph when his team had 500 runs on the board,” Broad wrote in his column for the Mail on Sunday.
"We should take the focus off which bowlers are going to be selected for that series because it's an irrelevant conversation if you're going to be bowled out for 200. It’s equally irrelevant if you’re bowled out for 300. You need to be reaching the 400s."
"Look back at when England last won there in 2010-11: Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen all got big hundreds, scores of 150-plus. Ian Bell, Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior got hundreds, too.
"In all three wins, the team batted just once. Jimmy (Anderson), Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett bowled in the mid-80s and England made big totals."
Broad was a part of the England side which scripted history in 2010/11 by beating Australia 3-1 but was also present in the 5-0 and 4-0 maulings dished out by the Kangaroos in the 2013/14 and the 2017/18 Ashes. Having seen both the highs and the lows, the 34-year-old noted that teams generally win matches by batting long and keeping the opponents on the field for an extended period of time. The veteran hoped for the likes of Root, Crawley, Pope and Stokes to make a difference and cast doubts on the mind of the Aussies when the 2021 Ashes beckons.
"Steve Smith has batted against 90mph bowling throughout a career in which he averages the best part of 63," Broad said.
"But what he hasn't done often is go out to bat having been fielding for two days and the opposition having a huge score on the board. We need that mindset of keeping the opposition out there until the second evening.
"With Joe Root, Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes to factor in, we want to be in a position when we get to that tour where the Australians are thinking 'these boys can score runs. Things are looking positive.”