Broad ready for an England return

First published in International Cricket News

STUART Broad bowled yesterday for the first time since spraining his ankle but England won’t make a quick decision on his fitness.

The seam bowler injured his left ankle minutes before the first warm-up game on Thursday, forcing him to withdraw, and there are question marks over his participation in today’s second tour match.

Broad would be a certainty to play in the first Test in Galle on March 26 if fit but, should England choose not to risk him against the Sri Lankan Development XI, it would mean plunging him straight into Test duty with no match practice in energysapping heat.

Broad looked tentative at the start of the tourists’ training session, running gingerly and lagging a long way behind his team-mates in the sprint drills, but was able to bowl in the nets.

After a slow warm-up he was approaching full tilt by the end of his spell and went on to bat as well.

He appeared in no obvious discomfort but will be assessed this morning for any reaction.

Speaking ahead of the session, team director Andy Flower said: ‘‘He’s been recovering okay and he will be fitness tested. After he’s had a bowl we’ll decide whether we are going to play him.

‘‘That decision could be made after training or in the morning when we see how he pulls up then.’’ Broad’s fitness doubts could give Steven Finn another chance to impress, while England may also choose to give Tim Bresnan a match as they contemplate whether or not they will need him as a fifth specialist bowler for the Test series.

􀁧 Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale says his team need to stop being “naïve’’ if they’re to be successful in Twenty20 cricket this year.

His comments come ahead of the Tykes first match of 2012 in the shortest form of the game.

Yorkshire meet Derbyshire in a pre-season match in Barbados, with Hampshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire also involved in the competition, as well as a number of local sides.

Yorkshire are guaranteed to play at least two twenty20 matches over the next few days in the Caribbean.

The winners of the contest will head through to the last four of the tournament, with the losers going into a separate plate competition.

Gale said: “I won’t lose any sleep if we lose all our games in this competition. I want to go out and win ideally, but it’s more about finding out what works for us and putting that in place.

“Hopefully, come the Twenty20 stuff back home, we’ll know exactly what we need to do and how to do it best.”

Impressing in this form of the game is overdue for Yorkshire.

They’re one of only three counties who have never made finals day in the domestic twenty20 cup since it was introduced in 2003.

Gale continued: “I think we can prepare better for it (this year).

“We were a little bit naïve at times last season. It’s about executing our skills at the right time, simple as that.”

Win or lose today against Derbyshire, the Tykes next T20 contest will take place tomorrow at the Kensington Oval, with any potential final on Thursday.

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