England bowler Stuart Broad took his omission for the first Test against West Indies ‘like a champion’, says stand-in captain Ben Stokes.
Broad, who scored 485 wickets in 138 test matches, was England’s leading player during last year’s South African victory streak.
But the 34-year-old footballer could not make England for the newcomer to the series against Vindis, and the hosts instead chose the tempo attack of James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
Broad and Chris Woakes were “disappointed” with their omission, but decided “like champions,” according to Stokes, who plays for absentee Joe Root this week.
After he won the toss on the Ageas Bowl and decided to hit first, Stokes said: “It was a very, very difficult decision. “But we felt that the pace of Woody and Jofra gives us a different dimension.
“Obviously, there was disappointment in the fact that this was the first game back, but two skipped guys took it as champions and understood the reasons.
“It was very hard. Stuart took it as a champion and wished me all the best. We are also quite close to the field, so it was nice to hear.
Stokes added that, having decided to fight first after a three-hour delay with rain: “We are trying to extract the best conditions from this. “There was little discussion with overhead, but that did not change our initial thought process.
“He feels heavy at the top, and he won’t have too much pace. Recently, spin appeared later in the game.
“I hope we can put pressure on the board with big first races.”
West Indies captain Jason Holder, meanwhile, added: “Due to overhead circumstances, we can take advantage of this.