England captain Joe Root has given his backing for seamer Stuart Broad to be included in the Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka amid speculation that the new-ball bowler could be dropped. Broad took 23 wickets in seven home tests against Pakistan and India this year but British media reported that national selectors were considering leaving the 32-year-old out of the side for three Tests in Sri Lanka starting in November.
Conditions are likely to ensure that England travel with three frontline spinners but Root has backed Broad, the country’s second most successful test bowler, to play a pivotal role on the South Asian pitches.
“I think Stuart’s experience will be vital in Sri Lanka,” Root told the Daily Telegraph. “He has had a lot of experience in the subcontinent and had a lot of success with teams out there, so I think it is very important that you utilise that and have experience in those testing conditions to help mould the side around it.”
Root said team mate Moeen Ali has the full support of the team after the all-rounder said he was called “Osama” by an Australian player during an Ashes test in 2015. Moeen, who is a Muslim, made the allegation in his forthcoming autobiography, saying the apparent reference to Islamist militant Osama bin Laden came during his Ashes debut in Cardiff.
“All I want to do is give him the support he needs to feel comfortable with the whole situation,” Root added. England take on Sri Lanka in five one-dayers and a one-off Twenty20 international in October, before the first of three tests starts in Galle on Nov. 6.