LONDON: Stuart Broad is looking forward to gaining some inside knowledge on Australia after England appointed Troy Cooley as a consultant pace bowling coach ahead of the upcoming Ashes series.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Wednesday that Cooley, a 55-year-old Australian, will aid the tourists’ quicks in Brisbane under the direction of elite pace bowling coach Jon Lewis.
He will then assist the seamers in England’s second-string Lions squad when they face Australia ‘A’ in a four-day match that starts on December 9.
Cooley was England’s bowling coach during their 2005 Ashes series success and subsequently took up a similar role with Australia.
“[Cooley] arrived when we got out of quarantine [on] Saturday, but he’s with us for a decent period of time,” Broad told cricket.com.au. “Really looking forward to picking his brain on Australian conditions, and Australian players, to be honest.”
Broad (524 Test wickets) and longstanding new-ball partner James Anderson (632) are not only England’s two all-time leading Test wicket-takers, they are the only members of the current squad to have enjoyed Ashes series success in Australia, following their involvement in a 3-1 triumph in 2010/11.
England, however, have since lost nine of their last 10 Tests in Australia, with just one draw.
But the 35-year-old Broad hopes Cooley can help redress the balance.
“He’s been in their setup for a long period of time, through development and at the top level,” the Nottinghamshire seamer said.
“He can give us great insight into Australian batters’ mentality. What they’re looking to do, where they’re looking to score, where they don’t like the ball, how [we should] be around them — whether you talk to them, whether you ignore them, whether you sledge them...can you annoy them enough to make a mistake.
“All this sort of detail, we’ll be picking Troy’s brain, because anything you can get, even a one-percenter on someone, will be really useful for us,” added Broad, whose father Chris, an opening batsman, was a key member of England’s 1986/87 Ashes-winning side in Australia.
“You need all that sort of stuff to win in Australia. You need to be at the top of your game at all times, and find little chinks in the opposition’s armoury.”
The first Test of an upcoming five-match campaign starts at Brisbane’s Gabba ground on December 8, with Australia holding the Ashes after a drawn 2019 series in England.
Persistent rain saw play abandoned without a ball being bowled on day two of England’s intra-squad tour match at the Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane on Wednesday, delaying the much-anticipated return of star all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Only 29 overs had been possible on Tuesday, with openers Rory Burns (39 not out) and Haseeb Hameed (53 not out) unbeaten in steering an England XI to 98 without loss against the Lions.
More rain is expected on Thursday, potentially scuppering Stokes’ return after almost five months out due to mental health concerns and finger surgery.
But if Stokes proves his fitness, England could field an extra fast bowler in the first Test with Anderson, Broad, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton all looking to gain from Cooley’s expertise.
England have just one more game scheduled before the first Test — a four-day, intra-squad warm-up from November 30.
Australia have their only red-ball preparation ahead of the series on December 1, when they will play a three-day game among themselves.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021