Broad relishing competition for test places
Tuesday, 03 June 2008

REUTERS, NOTTINGHAM, England - England fast bowler Stuart Broad is relishing the competition for places as he prepares for his first home test at Trent Bridge against New Zealand this week.

Broad, recalled after Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard were dropped in New Zealand this year, will face a challenge from Andrew Flintoff when he recovers from a side strain while injury-ravaged Simon Jones is back in form after knee surgery.

Harmison, Hoggard, Flintoff and Jones were the pace-bowling quartet who played a major role in England's 2005 Ashes triumph.

"I don't see playing ahead of those guys as a pressure I see it as a privilege," the lanky Broad, who stands nearly two metres tall, told Reuters. "It's fantastic to have the opportunity to play when there are so many good bowlers around.

"It must mean the selectors think I can do a job and are showing a bit of faith in me, which is pleasing. All I can do is enjoy my cricket and try to keep getting wickets. It is important I make contributions to an England win."

Broad's batting contribution also makes him an attractive prospect in Flintoff's absence. The 21-year-old left-hander, son of former England opener Chris Broad, has an average of 24.5 over his seven test innings and 29.71 from 18 one-day international innings.

"I've always been a big believer that if you have strength in depth, you have to be performing in the team, which will hopefully mean the team is playing well," Broad said.

"When I am out in the middle though, I can't think about whether it's going to be me being dropped (to make way for the likes of Flintoff). I just have to focus on doing a job for my side."

England took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series when they won at Old Trafford by six wickets last week.

Broad, who between tests has been promoting ASDA-sponsored Kwik Cricket with groups of children, failed to take a wicket, however, while spinner Monty Panesar claimed a test best six for 37 in the second innings.

Broad, who turns 22 this month, took three wickets in the drawn Lord's test. He realises he has to take wickets to keep his place but feels he is playing his part supporting Ryan Sidebottom and James Anderson.

"I'm delighted we are 1-0 up with the chance of winning the series at Trent Bridge," said Broad, who believes swing will be a major factor in the final test.

"I played more a supporting role (at Old Trafford) than getting the wickets but that's what you do as a bowler. It's not all about getting the wickets.

"It's a great set-up at the moment. Monty got his six-for on a turning wicket and it was up to the seamers to keep it tight. It was lovely to hear Monty say after one of his wickets 'Siddey (Sidebottom) that was for you' because he had bowled two maidens at the other end. That's the set-up we have at the moment."

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