Former England captain Michael Vaughan and spinner Phil Tufnell have been surprised by Joe Root’s decision to drop pace bowler Stuart Broad from the Playing XI in the opening Ashes Test at The Gabba here on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Broad is the sixth-highest wicket-taker in the world with 524 wickets in Tests, while he ranks third among fast bowlers only behind compatriot James Anderson (632) and Australia’s Glenn McGrath (563).
Broad was in England’s 12-member squad announced by skipper Root on Tuesday but was dropped on Wednesday morning.
“A juicy pitch at the Gabba,” Vaughan tweeted, adding, “It’d done more than I have ever seen in my time watching Ashes cricket. England’s Test batting hasn’t coped on these kind of pitches for a long time. I’m also staggered that there’s no Broad on this kind of surface. #Ashes.”
In fact, former Australian batter Mark Waugh was surprised with Root’s decision to drop Broad for the Test and he tweeted his reply to Vaughan’s comment, saying, “Shocked England batted first and left out both Anderson and Broad. (Man shrugging emoji).”
Former England left-arm spinner Tufnell, who played 42 Tests taking 121 wickets, said that he was surprised England missed the green Gabba pitch and the “massive clouds overhead” on Wednesday morning and elected to bat.
“We’re all talking about the pink-ball games but the one thing that England will have wanted is to come to an Australian ground and see the pitch covered in green grass and massive clouds overhead but they decided to bat,” Tufnell told BBC’s Test Match Special on Wednesday.
“I can’t quite understand it. Australia’s bowlers are professional and high-class. What they can do is run up and hit the top of off stump.”
Tufnell said that England had gifted the initiative to the hosts by electing to bat.
“All they (Australian quick bowlers) really had to do was run up and execute the biggest and simple skill they’ve got in their bowling armoury, which is hitting a good length outside off stump. Australia were enabled I’m afraid by England deciding to have a bat. I couldn’t quite believe that, I’m sorry,” he said.