Stuart Broad has said it would have been “pathetic” to fall out with Joe Root over his omission from the Caribbean tour and wants England to ride the wave of their long overdue win at Lord’s when the series moves to his beloved Trent Bridge.
Root’s unbeaten 115 in the five-wicket victory against New Zealand made for a heartening return to the ranks for the former captain, the strains of his final months in the role seemingly melting away to get his successor, Ben Stokes, off to a winning start while the team’s new head coach, Brendon McCullum, looked on approvingly.
Broad, a gamechanger himself on the third morning when helping to conjure up a lesser-spotted team hat-trick, was similarly in awe of the composure shown in the chase; he and Jimmy Anderson may have been dropped for Root’s final series in charge, but the 35-year-old insists it was never taken personally.
“Not at all,” Broad said, when asked if he and Root needed to clear the air before the series. “Joe and I spoke at length when he stood down as captain and I said to him how much he’s meant to me and what a privilege it was playing under him.
“I told him I hope he really enjoys the next few years. All that pressure has gone now. He’s already a legend of the game, so he can just go out there and enjoy it.
“Joe and I are great friends. And I’ve always been someone who can distinguish between business and pleasure. I can’t fall out with someone because they don’t pick me in a team, that would be a bit pathetic.”
The pair had already met up before Lord’s, in fact, taking in Nottingham Forest’s Championship play-off semi-final victory over Sheffield United last month. Root, a Blades fan, may have been left disappointed but a late night bottle of red wine in the office of the home side’s manager, Steve Cooper, was still magnanimously enjoyed.
Forest’s subsequent promotion has generated a feelgood atmosphere in Nottingham and Broad wants this to roll into Friday’s second instalment at Trent Bridge. His home ground is not scheduled to host a Test match next summer but thoughts of whether this could be his final outing there for England are not being entertained.
Broad said: “I started this season not knowing if I’d pull on the England shirt again, I was just enjoying every day for what it was. Jimmy turns 40 this year, four years ago was he thinking 2018 might be his last at Old Trafford? Probably not. I’ll attack this week with the same mindset: I’ll walk out on that first day, look around the stands, and know how lucky I am to be there.”
Whether this shift in mentality is a result of his absence in the Caribbean or the new Stokes-McCullum axis, Broad’s penchant for a spot of theatre remains unchanged. Imploring the Lord’s crowd to give his side a lift on the third morning, his removal of centurion Daryl Mitchell and then Kyle Jamieson first ball, either side of Ollie Pope running out Colin de Grandhomme for a golden duck, was the latest in a career of surges.
“We need to ride that wave all summer,” said Broad. “If I can get that Nottingham roar going, with the party mode the Forest fans are in right now, it could have a huge benefit. It adds a different pressure though. If you whip the crowd up, then bowl a half-volley and go for four you look daft. But I quite like that pressure. You’ll see this summer, when I feel we need that extra lift and momentum, I’ll do it again.”
As well as strong home support – the first three days are sold out – Broad is also intrigued to see how Matt Potts fares at a venue traditionally suited to the seamers. The 23-year-old looked at home on his debut, claiming match figures of seven for 68 that were the best on show across the two sides and a timely introduction to an England bowling stable that has recently been thinned out by injuries.
Broad said: “He’s got some great attributes: he can swing it, seam it, he brings the stumps into play. And he’s built very nicely for a fast bowler – he looks like he’s made of stone. He’s had a dream debut and the way he bowls – that style – makes me think he’ll enjoy Trent Bridge, too.”
While Potts must prepare for a sharp turnaround that, given the additional intensity of Test cricket, will be different to back-to-back matches for Durham at county level, Broad hopes he takes time to soak up the afterglow of a Test victory.
“These last two years, what was it, one win in 17?” he said. “I never took Test wins for granted but there was a period where they came more often than not and your attention can switch to the next game. Stuff that, enjoy the win and then get ready after that.”
With this comes an acceptance that but for the genius of Root and De Grandhomme overstepping when he bowled Stokes for one during the run-chase – the England captain going on to make a crucial 54 – the coming days would feel vastly different.
Broad said: “Things went our way but it’s no mean feat chasing a score like that. To start the Stokes-McCullum era with a win is huge for us.”