Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has admitted he was ‘gobsmacked’ with Stuart Broad’ s omission from the first Test of the Ashes in Brisbane last month.
England have been completely blown away by Australia this winter, as the hosts head into this week’s fourth test with the series already in the bag, having won the first three matches.
Following the Aussies’ demolition job one of their former stars in Watson has hit out at the visitors’ heavily criticised team selection.
Most notably the 40-year-old singled out the omission of Broad from the opener at the Gabba as the biggest shock.
Discussing England’s selection troubles in his Times column Watson wrote: “I’ve been surprised by a number of things England have done in this Ashes series but one that stands out is the way senior players have been left out of the team.”
He continued: “I was gobsmacked that Stuart Broad didn’t play the first Test.
“Especially with David Warner being one of the key Australia batsmen, and knowing the mental edge that Stuart had over him.”
Broad had Warner’s number throughout the 2019 series on home soil the last time the two rivals met, as the Englishman took the wicket of the Aussie opener on seven different occasions.
Therefore Watson believes leaving Broad out of the first Test gave Warner a huge psychological boost heading to the crease.
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The former all-rounder added: “Dave would have heaved a massive sigh of relief not to have to face him until the second Test, where Stuart bowled nicely.”
As mentioned Broad did make his return to the England setup for the second Test, but was then dropped again for third at the MCG where the hosts retained the urn with an innings and 14-run victory.
Once again Watson was shocked by the 35-year-old’s’ second omission in three matches, and praised his bowling effort in his appearance in the second Test.
The all-rounder wrote: “A lot of the batters played and missed at him and those balls could have taken the edge. It’s not like he bowled badly.
"Because of his height, Stuart doesn’t need to bowl express pace to be effective.
“If he continues to look after his body like he has, he should have a few more good years of cricket in front of him.”
Broad has been a stalwart in England’s bowling attack alongside James Anderson for some time now.
And Watson believes that omitting one of your most experienced men sends the wrong message to the rest of the England camp.
“When you don’t pick someone like him, it creates waves with the rest of the players.,” he added
“Everyone else starts looking over their shoulder. They’re thinking: ‘If Stuart Broad doesn’t get to play the first Test and then gets dropped after the second, what about me? I haven’t got all the wickets and runs he has.
“If I don’t perform, I’m going to be dropped.’"
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