New captains excite Flower
Andy Flower expects both Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook to be fit for purpose in their new roles as England’s limited-overs captains.
Broad had a last-minute scare when he suffered a bruised heel and had to spend time off the pitch at the Rose Bowl during the last day of the npower Test series against Sri Lanka.
But England team director Flower reports Broad will be ready for his maiden assignment in charge - Saturday’s one-off NatWest Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka - and that Cook will rise to the challenge of modifying his batsmanship from Test to 50-over requirements.
“(Broad) has a bruised left heel that caused him some discomfort in the Test match,” said Flower. “But we envisage him being fit to play on Saturday. Both he and the medical staff expect him to be fine.”
Although paceman Broad has just four full days to recover, Flower points out that Twenty20 cricket entails less of a workload for specialist bowlers.
He said: “It is only four overs and it will be a proud day for him. He is excited about being captain and I’m sure he will do an excellent job.”
Flower believes Broad, still re-establishing himself in international colours after a winter wrecked by injury, is bowling better than his figures - and some observers - may suggest.
“I don’t actually think he bowled as badly as some people are saying,” said Flower, despite Broad returning figures of 1-51 in each innings.
“I think he would accept that he wasn’t at his absolute best, but I really enjoyed the way he bowled on the fourth afternoon at the Rose Bowl. There was some real pace and bounce from him.”
Cook is succeeding Andrew Strauss as England’s ODI leader, even though he has not played in the format for more than a year and was not considered for World Cup duty in the subcontinent earlier this year.
But Flower said of the prolific 26-year-old Test opener: “I have great expectations for Alastair Cook as England captain.
“He is a good captain - we’ve seen that in Bangladesh [in Strauss’ absence last year] and, as a player, I think he will grow into a very fine one-day batsman.
“He is still young and he is still improving as a cricketer. He has performed decently for England in the one-day game already and he has a one-day hundred to his name too, so he can play one-day cricket.
“When he plays one-day cricket for Essex he does well and he has the potential to grow in that format of the game.
“The thing about Alastair is that each time he is faced with a new challenge in the game he tends to rise to it, and I can see that happening here.”
Flower has high hopes, too, for Craig Kieswetter, who was part of the World Twenty20-winning side in the Caribbean last year but has not played one-day international cricket since last July.
“Kieswetter has come back well, and we think he will be better for the time out of the side,” said Flower.
“He has worked very hard while he’s been out of the England side, and his approach to that work has been a credit to him.
“He had a taste of international cricket and did okay but, after being left out, needed to work on a few things.
“I’m looking forward to watching him open the batting for us. He is a superb striker of a cricket ball and is a very attacking batsman who will give us a lot of energy up front.”