England pacer Stuart Broad opened up on his strained relationship with former chief selector Ed Smith and insisted that Smith was a boss who never really rated him despite numbers telling otherwise. Broad insisted that while Smith did a lot of good things, he simply was not good at communication.
Last month the ECB relieved national chief selector Ed Smith of his duties, and it marked the end of a successful era, one that saw England win the World Cup and get back to being elite in Test cricket. Smith’s tenure also oversaw the emergence of youngsters such as Sibley, Crawley, Archer and Pope, but one man who did not have the smoothest of times with Smith at the helm was Stuart Broad.
Despite being a veteran, Broad, under Smith’s tenure, did not command the same respect as his partner Jimmy Anderson and saw himself unceremoniously be axed many a time. Infamously, Broad was left out of the Barbados Test versus Windies in 2019 - which they lost by 381 runs - to accommodate Sam Curran, and last year was again left out of the side in the first Test of the summer, post which he gave an explosive interview.
Despite racking up the numbers and proving himself, Broad’s journey in the ‘Ed Smith era’ was not smooth, and the 34-year-old described Smith as a boss who never rated him.
"You can say [Smith's period as National Selector] was a success in the sense that the team won games and a World Cup. And he brought some fine players through. But from my point of view we struggled a bit on the communication side and probably saw the game of cricket slightly differently. A lot of people have bosses who don't rate them as much as other people and I think he was mine. He probably didn't rate me as much as other players. That's fine but I kept trying to prove some selection decisions wrong,” Broad said in an interview, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
"I really disagreed with getting left out in Barbados [at the start of 2019]. It's one of the best places to bowl as a tall fast bowler. And there are a few occasions where I have felt a bit disgruntled and didn't have the clarity of communication that I would have liked. That Test I missed at the Ageas Bowl is the only English Test I've missed in what, 10 years? And that was through selection.
"I am very open to being told things. You have a discussion face to face and then have a beer and move on. That's how I like to do things. Maybe Ed and I didn't have that sort of relationship. But he did a lot for bringing through some young cricketers and giving them exposure to the international scene. But he didn't rate me overly highly and I just had to keep proving that view wrong."
Broad reasserted that getting dropped for the first Test of the summer last year ‘upset’ him. The veteran admitted that, at 34, it might not be realistic for him to feature in every match, but insisted that after impressing in both the Ashes and the South Africa tour, he felt disrespected when it was announced that he would be warming the bench.
"Last year I was disgruntled because the selectors had said the first Test team of the summer will be our best team," Broad said. "For someone who had been through the Ashes successfully, been through South Africa successfully and stayed fit, I felt it was my shirt. I felt I was in the best team. So to be told I suddenly wasn't in the best team with my record in England, that's what upset me.
"Is it realistic I'm going to play every Test? No. But if the communication is done well then you understand the reasons for it. You understand why you might miss certain games to be fit for other games. That along with building experience into different players.”
Broad said that it is ‘fine’ if he is rested in order to inject experience into other younger bowlers, but insisted that all he is expecting is good communication. The 34-year-old, who is currently representing Nottinghamshire in the County Championship, also asserted that he gave up white-ball cricket only so that he can have a prolonged Test career and give it his all in every game he plays.
"If I had a choice I'd want to play all seven Tests. Part of the reason I don't play white ball cricket any more is so I'm fit and available for Test cricket and fresh when I'm needed. But if Chris Silverwood decides he needs to get experience into some players and have a look at a different line-up and it's explained in a good way… absolutely, I would understand.
"I pride myself on being available and ready. I'm bowling well, taking wickets for Notts and helping win games. I don't think many could argue against Jimmy and I being in the best bowling attack in England, but if you need to get experience and overs into bowlers that is what it is.
"It's when the communication disappears; that's when players can't see reasons or see through it."