England’s Stuart Broad has defended his decision not to walk in the most controversial incident of the first Ashes series this year, suggesting the huge row blew up because Australia had “wasted” their two referrals.
Australia had already used up all their reviews during England’s second innings in the opening Test so were unable to challenge the decision. Broad later conceded hitting the ball.
“My first comment on that whole incident is I could name you 18 or 19 players who played in an Ashes series who nicked it and didn’t walk,” Broad told the BBC in an interview.
“We could be here all day if I named players from the past. I am trying to think of someone in the modern game who is consistently a walker.”
Broad rode his luck to make 65 and added 138 runs in a seventh-wicket stand with Ian Bell, which proved crucial for the hosts as they went on the win the Nottingham Test by 14 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Captain Clarke and his teammates were left shaking their heads in disbelief at the decision which sparked a huge debate on Twitter about the spirit of cricket.
“It’s a really interesting debate and something that got blown so out of proportion maybe because the Australians were frustrated they had wasted two referrals,” Broad said.
“It was an important moment in the game because, let’s be honest, if Belly and I hadn’t put on those runs, we wouldn’t have won the test match so we would only have won 3-1 or something.”
As it was, England won the series 3-0.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann was handed a fine by the International Cricket Council after he accused Broad of “blatant cheating”.
Lehmann later apologised to Broad for the verbal attack, which came in a radio interview.
“Ryan Harris came over to me and apologised,” Broad added. “First of all he said from the players we have given him [Lehmann] a hard time and his comments were unacceptable.
“He [Lehmann] came across and said: ‘I meant it in jest’ and I said, ‘in black and white it doesn’t look like jest to me’.
“He said something along the lines of, ‘listen to the interview’ and I said, ‘I have far better things to do with my time’, and that was about it.
“We shared a nice beer and I said, ‘see you in November’.”
Broad is expected to come under heavy fire from the fans Down Under when the return Ashes series starts with the first test at Brisbane from November 21.
Clarke to return to action
Clarke, meanwhile, is in line to make his comeback from injury to lead New South Wales in their Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania this week, team officials said on Monday.
Clarke’s availability for Wednesday’s Shield game will be subject to a fitness review over a back injury, a spokesman said.
The star batsman was ruled out of Australia’s one-day tour of India this month with a longstanding back problem, and feared he could miss the first Test.
But after intensive treatment for a degenerative disc condition, which has been an issue since he was a teenager, the prognosis is good.
“Michael is progressing well and recently recommenced batting in the nets,” Alex Kountouris, the Australian team physiotherapist, said in a statement last week.
Clarke’s back problem flared up again before Australia’s final ODI against England in Southampton last month, at the end of a gruelling five-Test Ashes tour to England, which Australia lost 3-0.
He played in that game, but selectors were reluctant to take any more risks given the big home summer coming up, and ruled him out of the India tour.
Other Ashes series contenders playing for NSW this week include paceman Josh Hazlewood, spinner Nathan Lyon, all-rounder Steve Smith and batsman David Warner.
Root relishing Warner rivalry
Joe Root, the England opener, is looking forward to renewing his battle with Warner.
The Yorkshireman was in the headlines over the summer when he was on the wrong end of a punch from Warner in the build-up to the Ashes.
Warner struggled with the bat in England but has since hit a good vein of form and hit a record 197 in a one-day game for New South Wales.
“It’s good to see him in the runs and hopefully we can have some good battles on the field this time,” Root told the Daily Telegraph.
Root’s made a big contribution to England’s summer Ashes win with his 180 at Lord’s, but other than that his bat remained quiet.
The 22 year old knows he and the rest of the top order must contribute more to the upcoming series Down Under.
“Australia bowled very well at our top order last summer,” Root said. “It wasn’t just me – all three of us at the top didn’t score the runs we would have liked. I think they tried to bowl slightly fuller at me.
“It will be interesting to see how they attack me this series. I want to improve and get through that new ball and keep scoring big runs.
“I’ll just make sure I’m prepared for everything going into that first Test.”