London: England fast bowler Stuart Broad said he knew before anyone else his participation in the Ashes has been cut short by a stomach injury that left him “feeling like I couldn’t breathe”.
The 24-year-old quick was ruled out of the remainder of the five-Test campaign and the subsequent one-day series with an abdominal muscle injury suffered on the fourth day of the second Test in Adelaide.
He did not take the field for Tuesday’s fifth day in the match Ashes-holders England won in his absence by the crushing margin of an innings and 71 runs to go 1-0 up with three to play.
“I’m heartbroken,” Broad wrote in his column for Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. “On Monday afternoon I came back to bowl a spell and after the first ball I knew something wasn’t right.
“I was driven back down the ground by Michael Clarke and as I carried on my follow through, I knew I was in big trouble. I said to Jimmy Anderson at mid-on: ‘I might be struggling here, big fella.’
“I got through three overs, but it felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach. I came off and had an ultrasound and it confirmed a grade-three tear.”
He added: “I had an injection then I went into the nets...I tried a couple of bouncers, because I wanted to go for broke in the time I had left, but I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I knew I was out of the series.”
Broad is the son of former England opener Chris Broad - a member of the last England side to win the Ashes in Australia back in 1986/87 - and being ruled out of this series was especially tough to take.
“Playing for England in an Ashes in Australia has been something I’ve dreamed of for a long time so to have that cut short by injury is devastating,” Broad said.
“It’s been very tough, but the lads have been fantastic, very supportive.
“It’s just unlucky for it to happen in the biggest series of my life,” added Broad, who hopes to return to England duty at next year’s World Cup in Asia.
“I could be out for eight to 10 weeks and the first World Cup game is in nine, so I can always join the competition a bit later on -- it goes on forever anyway,” he jokingly added.
Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shahzad and Tim Bresnan are all vying for Broad’s spot and the injured seamer said: “I wish whoever takes my place all the best.”
Although Tremlett is the nearest like-for-like replacememt, former England fast bowler Jonathan Agnew said conditions in Perth would favour Bresnan - though former Ashes winning captain Michael Vaughan begged to differ and told the BBC he would opt for Tremlett.
“For the Perth Test, which starts on 16 December, England will want a third seamer to bowl into the wind, famously known as the ‘Fremantle Doctor’, Agnew, now the BBC’s cricket correspondent, said Tuesday.
“Bresnan is more of a traditional swinger than Yorkshire team-mate Ajmal Shahzad or Chris Tremlett, which works in his favour, although the Waca is traditionally the fastest and bounciest pitch in Australia, which will suit the bowling styles of the other two seamers.”