England should rest Stuart Broad for third Test against India, says Sir Ian Botham

Last Updated: 04/12/12 5:56pm

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Sir Ian Botham remains convinced that England should rest a 'tired-looking' Stuart Broad for the third Test against India, which begins in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Former all-rounder Botham expressed concerns about Broad's form and fitness during the second Test, which the tourists won by 10 wickets to level the four-match series at 1-1.

And he believes that the 26-year-old, who has taken 0-157 from 36 overs in the series so far, would benefit from a spell out of the first XI.

"Stuart Broad is way off the mark at the moment," Botham told Sky Sports News. "Why that is, I don't know. Whether this heel injury is plaguing him and he's carrying it.

"Maybe Stuart just needs a break. He's a young lad - relatively young; he's had a lot of work over the last three or four years. Now's maybe the time to rest him."
Sir Ian Botham

"He hasn't actually performed for a little while now, by his own standards. He knows that - only he knows why; he's well down on his pace; he's looking tired, he's looking jaded.

"Maybe he just needs a break. He's a young lad - relatively young; he's had a lot of work over the last three or four years. Now's maybe the time to rest him."

Blast

Middlesex seamer Steven Finn missed the first two matches with a thigh injury but has now declared himself fit to return and former England skipper Andrew Strauss believes his inclusion could add some welcome pace to the tourists' attack.

"I think what Steven does bring to the side is a little bit more impetus and raw firepower," he said. "The seamers - all of them - have struggled a bit out there so far. Maybe Steven can blast a couple of wickets out.

"But then the other seamers have done their job; they've stuck at it in pretty difficult conditions and you're not really expecting a seam bowler to get five or six wickets over there.

"Their job is to hold up an end - hopefully get one or two out - and then the spinners are going to do the majority of the work.

"Only the guys in the England set-up will know quite how Broad's confidence levels are, how it's coming out in the nets and it's for them to make that call.

"But I certainly know that he's played a huge part in our success over the years and he'll continue to do so going forward as well, I think."

Harsh

Broad's wickets come at a cost of just over 28 runs at home, but he averages almost 42 overseas and his batting average similarly fluctuates, at 34.52 in England, but just 14.86 on foreign soil.

Even so, another former England captain Alec Stewart says Broad will feel slightly aggrieved if dropped.

"In the first two Test matches he hasn't struck gold yet; so it's one of those - you are always a better player when you are not in the side than if you are actually in it," he said.

"I don't think the selectors will decide until the morning of the game because I think they will go two [seamers] and two [spinners].

"I think Finn will definitely come into consideration and if he is picked then Stuart Broad can feel a little bit harshly treated but it's all about winning and you've just got to put any sympathies to one side."

You can see the third Test between India and England live from 3am on Wednesday on Sky Sports 1 HD.

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