London: Oct 30, 2013
Former England captain Andrew Flintoff said on Tuesday that Stuart Broad does not deserve to be the ‘villain’ of the piece in Australia but has backed his former team-mate to star in the upcoming Ashes 2013-14 series all the same.
Broad found himself under fire after refusing to walk — standard practice in Australia cricket — despite getting a thick edge caught by slip in the first Test between England and Australia at Trent Bridge in July.
He was given not out but Broad’s decision to stand his ground sparked accusations of “blatant cheating” from Australia coach Darren Lehmann, who later called on Australian fans to “get stuck into him” and “make him cry” — comments that saw the former Test batsman fined by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The incident was back in the spotlight on Monday when Broad insisted he has no regrets, believing England might have lost a Test they won by just 14 runs had he given himself out rather than waited for the umpire’s decision.
Flintoff, a double Ashes winner, said he’d no qualms about Broad’s conduct — and nor should anyone else.
“I can’t believe that people have got on their high horses about it, players, ex-players, everyone. It happens every day in County cricket, every day in professional cricket,” Flintoff said.
“What are you going to do if a bowler got an LBW decision and it wasn’t out? Are you going to call him back?
“It’s part and parcel of the game. If I’d have been in the dressing room and Stuart Broad had walked and the umpire hadn’t given him out, I’d have had a right go at him.”
Broad featured throughout England’s 3-0 series win on home soil, taking a match-winning six for 50 in the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street, and Flintoff expects him to play a central role in Australia.
It was all a far cry from the time Broad slightly lost his way as England’s ‘enforcer’.
“Broad’s a very decent cricketer. I think in the past few months in his bowling, he’s figured out a way in which balls suit him,” said Flintoff, who scored 3,845 runs and took 226 wickets in 79 Tests.
“He tried to have this role which was the worst one ever: the enforcer was just nonsense. He bowls nicely at mid-80s and can swing it, that’s his strength, stick to it.
“I think in the past he’s tried to bowl quick and he’s tried other things, but we’ve seen in the summer like at Chester-le-Street he bowled to his strengths.
“Don’t get carried away, don’t try and beat the crowd, don’t try and beat the press, and don’t get dragged into a slanging match with the opposition.
“The best way to shut them up is when they’re walking back with no runs under their belts.”