Broad dismisses Doherty theory

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Kevin Pietersen

Team-mate Stuart Broad insists Kevin Pietersen, above, is not concerned by Xavier Doherty's presence in the Australia squad

England all-rounder Stuart Broad does not expect Kevin Pietersen to be bothered by Australia's decision to include a left-arm spinner in their Ashes line-up.

Pietersen has endured a lean 18 months by his exceptionally high standards, during which an apparent fallibility against slow left-armers has surfaced.

He fell to Michael Beer in England’s opening tour match against Western Australia, and Steve O’Keefe accounted for him cheaply in the warm-up encounter with Australia A last week.

The inclusion of Xavier Doherty, another left-arm spinner, ahead of off-spinner Nathan Hauritz in Australia’s squad for the first Test is seen by many as a direct ploy to unsettle Pietersen.

Broad, however, casts doubt on that theory, and believes Pietersen will be unaffected regardless.

“It would certainly be a very hard call to pick a bowler just to get at one batsman in the opposition line-up - you need 20 wickets to win a game,” Broad said.

"I would be surprised if they'd picked someone just to remove one player, especially Kevin because he's a world-class batsman and we've all seen that.

"I don't think he'll be worried at all about facing a left-arm spinner because he's scored runs against world-class spinners.

"He's probably had a lean 18 months by his own standards but we're all very excited about seeing him because he's hitting it great in the nets and we know he likes to play Australia.

Ian Chappell, Wasim Raja, Nasser Hussain & Steve Waugh

Nasser Hussain wins the toss and bowls at Brisbane in 2002. Broad does not expect Andrew Strauss to do the same this week

“He's certainly not panicking about left-arm spin and he's preparing just as much for the seamers.”

Meanwhile, there have been whispers that a lively wicket and unpredictable weather conditions in Brisbane might tempt England skipper Andrew Strauss to take the bold step of inserting Australia should he win the toss on Thursday.

Nasser Hussain did that eight years ago and has yet to live down Australia’s first-day total of 364 for two.

Broad, though, does not anticipate Strauss opting for a similar gamble.

"There's been a lot of hype about the wicket and conditions and I think it has been purely press talk," he said. "Looking at the wicket today it seems a good Test match pitch, maybe not as hard as people were expecting.

"It certainly doesn't have the look that it will seam all over the place. I'd say it's a good deck to bat on. But whatever we do at the toss is all about doing that skill better than the Australians."

Should England be put into the field first and wickets do start tumbling, Broad has not ruled out an outing of ‘sprinkler’, a dance move made famous among England fans via Graeme Swann's video tour diary on ecb.co.uk.

“I ran into a few of the Barmy Army the other day and they said they'd been practising the sprinkler dance for when we were getting a few boundaries or wickets," said Broad.

“Who knows, if we get two or three of them quickly we might give it a go.”

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