• Andrew Strauss declines player’s bid to delay time off after 48 hours of talks
• Broad forced to take Easter period off after only one game of the season
Stuart Broad will be a frustrated onlooker this weekend after his request to play for Nottinghamshire against Durham – a match for which he was scheduled to be rested – is understood to have been declined by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
As a centrally contracted player, Broad’s availability is dictated by England and his agreed start to the four-day season was to be his county’s opening match at Leicestershire, which ended on Sunday, and then at home against Sussex, starting on 21 April, with the away fixture at Durham in between marked down as time off.
After Nottinghamshire wrapped up a comfortable 10-wicket win 51 minutes into the third day at Grace Road, and with Broad having sent down only 21 overs in the game, both the player and his coach, Peter Moores, made representations to England for the rest period to be postponed.
What appeared a legitimate suggestion – not least since the first Test against South Africa does not start until 6 July and Broad is not part of England’s one-day plans as they gear up for the Champions Trophy that precedes it – was knocked back by Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, on Tuesday following 48 hours of negotiations.
It will leave the 30-year-old Broad, who is keen to maintain some early-season rhythm, to do his bowling in the nets over Easter, just one game into the campaign and despite having played a full part in the county’s preparations that included a three-day game against Cambridge MCCU.
England will argue the schedule outlined looks deeper into a year in which there are seven Tests against South Africa and West Indies in under nine weeks in the second half of the summer, as well as the Ashes tour to Australia in November and December.
Agreeing to a change also would have invited other counties to challenge agreed player availability, with Yorkshire, for example, having been denied the services of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow until the third round of matches. The pair missed the defeat at home against Hampshire, along with Adil Rashid who returns this week.
While Root’s time off is understandable given the Test captain’s status as a three-format international player, Bairstow has played only three one-day matches this year. He would have been cleared to play in the Indian Premier League that began last week but failed to get signed during the auction.