Former England pacer Darren Gough said he was “really surprised” to see Stuart Broad miss out of the opening Test against the West Indies despite the seasoned pacer standing up for the team in the absence of Jimmy Anderson in the past.
The host opted to go for Anderson, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer alongside stand-in captain Ben Stokes and spinner Dom Bess, leaving out Broad from the first Test which started here on Wednesday.
Broad, who is England’s second highest wicket-taker of all time with 485 scalps in the longest format of the game, last missed a home Test eight years ago when he was rested against West Indies in 2012.
“(I’m) really surprised,” Gough said on Sky Sports.
“Because when you talk about sticking with players, I thought with the Broad situation, he has stood up and been counted for England over the past few years, when Jimmy has been limping out of games with injury,” he added.
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Gough said both the senior pacers in the side -- Anderson and Broad -- should have been included in the team.
“I would’ve played both Broad and Anderson in this game - I think they deserve that respect - and then I would’ve gone for one of Wood or Archer,” he said.
The 49-year-old, who featured in 58 Tests, 159 ODIs and two T20s for England, said if he had the option he would have rotated the trio of Anderson, Broad and Chris Woakes, leaving out just one of them in each game.
“In typical English conditions, the way I would’ve done it is, rotated Anderson, Broad and Woakes - always two out of the three - and then have one of Wood or Archer.”
“I think they saw, in St Lucia in the West Indies, the pace of Wood bowling against the West Indian batsmen, when he gets it right, he frightens them,” he added.
The series marked the return of international cricket after a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opening day of the Test was marred by rain and saw only 17.4 overs being bowled. England was 35/1 with Rory Burns and Joe Denly in the middle. Shannon Gabriel was the lone wicket-taker as he bowled Dominic Sibley for a duck.