Stuart Broad has already begun "plotting" a path back into England's 50-over plans. Broad was left out of the ODI squad announced earlier this week and has only played twice since the 2015 World Cup but he refuses to give up on playing white-ball cricket for his country again, to the extent that he will contemplate taking part in overseas domestic competitions to try and nudge the selectors before next summer's Champions Trophy.
Trevor Bayliss, England's head coach, has left the door open for Broad, who retains hope of playing in the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2019 World Cup, competitions that will both be held in England and Wales. However, Broad's involvement with the Test side, and England's busy schedule, has prevented him from gaining any significant practice in the shorter formats: in addition to two ODIs in South Africa, he has played one List A and one T20 match for Nottinghamshire in the last 12 months.
Broad's form with the red ball saw him rise to No. 1 in the ICC Test bowler rankings earlier this year, and he could still have another 11 Test matches to play in 2015, with a home series against Pakistan and tours of Bangladesh and India before Christmas. England will then have a six-month gap without a Test, during which time Broad is planning to prioritise his white-ball game above a well-earned rest.
"It's tricky because I haven't played any white-ball cricket," he said of his omission from the group to play Sri Lanka. "I think I saw a quote saying this squad had been picked on merit and I can't argue with that at all because it's not as if I've gone out there and taken a certain amount of white-ball wickets. I'm going to have to find a way to do that.
"I'm going to look at scheduling, whether it's home or abroad, to try to play some white-ball cricket and there might be a decent opportunity after Christmas this year because there's not a lot of Test cricket then until I think July. The only way I'll get back is by playing white-ball cricket and that's the only way my skills will improve, too."
Broad's focus on reclaiming his ODI spot means he would prefer to play 50-over cricket rather than appear in T20 leagues, such as Australia's BBL - which will begin at around the same time England are expected to conclude their five-Test series in India - the IPL and the Pakistan Super League. One such option could be New Zealand's 50-over competition, the Ford Trophy, which ran throughout January in the 2015-16 season.
The changes to the county schedule for next year have also caught Broad's eye, with the Royal London Cup set to be played in April and May, as a prelude to the Champions Trophy. He could even push for selection in the inaugural North v South series, to be played in the UAE next March.
"I'm going to have to carefully plot how to do it and the schedule next year might massively work in my favour because I think the Royal London Cup is going to be played more in a chunk at the start of the season and I think the Twenty20 competition is played in a chunk too - whereas this year there's no 50-over cricket for me to play to put my name in the hat. If I suddenly have a belting six weeks of 50-over cricket people might say, 'Actually this bloke can bowl with the white ball. He has got a hundred-odd ODIs behind him and he could still be in the frame.'"
England's newly enlightened attitude to white-ball competition might be tested by Broad's desire to keep pushing his case, rather than save himself for Tests. But, while England have moved on from a generation of ODI stalwarts such as Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and James Anderson, Broad is unwilling to view himself as a cricketing senior citizen, still keen to try and kick it with the kids in three years' time.
"I'm still only 29 but because I've played a lot of my cricket with Belly and Jimmy who are a bit older I sort of get put in that category," he said. "A lot of people have played at World Cups at 32 and that's certainly not an old age for a cricketer so I've got huge goals to be a part of that and have to pick some stuff to get involved in."
He did concede that the pace of change in the limited-overs formats had left him feeling "as if I hadn't played in a long time" during his involvement in South Africa. The challenge seems to enthuse him, however, and the impression that Broad is chalking out new plans of attack, chewing on his pencil as contemplates the ideal level of torque on a slower ball, staying up late trying to concoct a new "slog-proof" delivery in the lab should indicate how serious he is about the endeavour.
"I almost need a bit of a unique selling point in one-day cricket," he said. "I can't just be a regulation line-and-length bowler, I have to be something a bit different and whether that's me going round the wicket and looking to improve my skills in that way, making the batsman think: 'What's he doing here?' Not just to shut down one side but maybe changing the angle, maybe my legcutter from round the wicket would be hard to slog to the leg side. This is just me thinking aloud. There might be something I can find that batsmen will struggle with."
And while some would point to his rarefied form in Tests without limited-overs noodling to distract him, Broad prefers to look at his development - such as the "stark improvement" in his record to left-handers - and imagine how he can make similar strides with a white ball.
"I don't want to say not playing any white-ball cricket has helped my red-ball form because it weakens my argument but certainly it has given me time to improve on my red-ball performances and I did have improvements to make," he said.
"Now I need to develop my white-ball bowling as part of that improvement. For instance, I haven't bowled round the wicket to left-handers with a white ball. I've had such success like that with the red ball that it might be something I have to look at.
"I almost need to sit down with a pen and paper and say: 'Right I want to play here, and this is the type of delivery I need to work at' and hopefully we'll be sat here next year and I'll have some stats behind me. Then I can go to the selectors and say: 'You told me you were picking the team on merit. Well there you go.'"
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