Broad braced for hectic schedule
4:56pm Monday 7th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Stuart Broad admits there is no guarantee he can stay fit for purpose throughout five back-to-back Investec Tests against India.
He anticipates a physical drain on the collective resources of England's seam attack over the next six weeks, and acknowledges something might have to give for someone between Trent Bridge on Wednesday and The Oval in mid-August.
Broad knows too, though, that he can improve his own chances of staying the course by doing what he is paid for - taking wickets, and shortening matches.
Chronic tendonitis in his knee has already curtailed Broad's season - he missed the limited-overs leg of Sri Lanka's tour - and, alongside his fellow pace linchpin James Anderson, he is an asset England's management are well aware they must protect.
Asked as he prepares for the first Test if he is confident he can get through all five matches, Broad said: "It's really hard to predict - because if India go and get 400-500 every innings, then I wouldn't expect the seam bowlers to keep backing it up and playing.
"If we bowl India out for 250-300 every innings, it's obviously a huge difference on the workload."
The same question pertains, of course, to his senior team-mate Anderson - 32 at the end of this month, and almost four years older than Broad.
The exacting schedule is a mixed blessing as far as Broad is concerned - an opportunity to get stuck into a long series, but with its physical effects in the back of his mind.
"It is important to have fresh bowlers in the side, and back-to-back Test cricket does really tire you out," he said.
"This schedule's got five Test matches in the space of probably three, so it is pretty hectic.
"We've got a great opportunity to play a lot of cricket for England in the next five or six weeks.
"But we will have to look after our bodies big time."
Broad will not be putting up his hand to ask for a break, but will accept it if he is asked to sit out a Test.
"Bowlers get tired; bowlers get niggles," he added.
"Not one would say 'I'm tired, let me miss a Test match'. I don't know a bloke who would do that. If it was left to the bowlers, you would play till you keel over.
"I think in 42 days, we've got 25 Test match days and 10 training days.
"It's a pretty hectic time coming up, (but) it's in the bowlers' hands to bowl India out as quick as we can so we can get off the field and get rested."
If England's management prescribe another rest, Broad knows there is little he can do about it.
"It's an annoying phone call you get from the selector - that you're missing out the next game because you're being 'rotated' - but I think it is pretty sensible," he said.
"It's been done in Test cricket, and if the workloads get very high it's something that will have to be looked at.
"But as a senior bowler in this side, I want to be stepping out first on to that field in all these five."
It will be a big help for Broad, Anderson and Liam Plunkett if the Nottingham surface gives them a little more assistance than those for two Tests against Sri Lanka.
He cannot personally affect pitch preparation, but took his chance to counsel against dry surfaces - ones which might well suit India better than England.
He said: "It didn't happen at Lord's and Headingley.
"They turned out to be really slow, and both really should have been 'draw' wickets.
"But if they're dry (for this series), I think India will be licking their lips with the two spinners - won't they?"
Broad happily went into bat again for his under-fire captain Alastair Cook.
England's most prolific Test centurion has not reached three figures in any of his last 24 innings, stretching back more than a year.
There have been some loud voices very keen to point out Cook's miserable run of form, and critiques of his captaincy too.
Broad knows none of those noises will worry the man in charge - but there is no substitute for runs.
"He has always been somebody who goes back to his farm and shuts off," said Broad.
"That's one of his big strengths, why he has played 100 or so Tests.
"Runs, of course - he is an opening batsman, our highest scorer of hundreds ever and he has not got one for a year.
"So he will be desperate to get back on that wagon."
Broad expects that to happen soon, and dramatically too.
"We all know the quality he is," he added.
"When he gets in he will go big - so we are hoping, whether it's Trent Bridge or Lord's or the Oval, at some stage he will get in.
"I don't think he will just get a hundred, it will be a 'daddy' hundred."