Saturday, November 27, 2021

Broad: Focus on cricket or we’ll lose Ashes

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England set to begin five-match series with Australia in Brisbane on December 8; Broad says he is “fit and firing” after recovering from the calf injury that ruled him out of the final four Tests of this summer’s series against India

Last Updated: 15/10/21 6:43pm

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England bowler Stuart Broad urges his team-mates to focus on cricket rather than coronavirus restrictions during this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.

England bowler Stuart Broad urges his team-mates to focus on cricket rather than coronavirus restrictions during this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.

England bowler Stuart Broad has warned his team-mates that they will not regain the Ashes if they are distracted by the coronavirus restrictions they will face during this winter’s tour of Australia.

The ECB confirmed last week that the tour will go ahead subject to “several critical conditions being met,” after England players had raised concerns about rules they may face during the five-match series, due to begin in Brisbane on December 8.

However, Broad, who has declared himself “fit and firing” having recovered from a calf injury suffered in August, says that cricket must dominate the agenda once England arrive in Australia.

“From an England team point of view, once we get on that flight to Australia and have done our quarantine, we have to just talk about cricket,” Broad told Sky Sports News.

England captain Joe Root and Australia captain Tim Paine are set to lead their sides into the first Test on December 8

“We have to get our minds away from the bubble experiences that we’ve had to deal with for a long time.

“We have to talk about enjoying the tour and what’s going to make us play better on the field, and that’s ‘how do we play better shots than the Australians? How do we bowl better balls and how do we take our catches?’ Because if our mind gets away from that we will not win in Australia.

“That will be our mindset when we get to Australia, it’s just cricket. We need to talk about the cricket and I’m certainly looking forward to doing that.”

Broad was last weekend named in a 17-man squad for the five Tests, which are due to be played in five states, each of which have their own Covid-19 regulations.

The second Test will be a day-nighter in Adelaide (16-20 December) before the traditional Melbourne Boxing Day Test (26-30 December).

Sydney will host the fourth Test (5-9 January), before a potential decider at Perth’s Optus Stadium (14-18 January).

Australia retained the Ashes when the teams last met in 2019 after a 2-2 series draw.

‘I’m fit and firing’

Broad suffered a calf injury in the build-up to the second Test of England’s summer series against India, which resulted in him missing the remainder of the series.

With fast-bowling duo Jofra Archer and Olly Stone already ruled out of the tour by injury, Broad’s fitness is crucial in providing captain Joe Root with options for the tour.

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Broad says he is ‘fit and firing’ for the Ashes, having recovered from a calf injury.

Broad says he is ‘fit and firing’ for the Ashes, having recovered from a calf injury.

The first Test in Brisbane would be Broad’s 150th Test match, with the Nottinghamshire seamer looking to add to his tally of 524 wickets.

Asked about his condition, Broad said: “Yeah, all fit and firing.

“I’ve been back bowling two weeks now. Building my workloads up, building my fitness up, ready for what’s a hugely exciting winter for the red-ball team.

“It’s going to be quite an unpredictable series I think. Australia just haven’t played any cricket. I think they’ve played four Tests in the last year. Players are going to be going in without a lot of match time and I think that will be exciting to watch.”

‘I’d love to dominate Warner again’

Broad dominated Australia batsman David Warner during the last Ashes in 2019, dismissing the opener seven times in 10 innings.

While Broad accepts that keeping Warner quiet in English conditions was perhaps an easier task than he will face this winter, the England bowler says he is preparing to try to maintain a similar influence.

Broad dismissed Australia batter David Warner seven times in the 2019 Ashes

“We’ve had some great battles over the years, going back to 2013,” Broad said.

“As an England opening bowler you want to target the opening batters and the top three.

“We know what a key player he is for Australia and of course I’d love to get him out and have the sort of influence I did in 2019 on him, but I’m very aware the challenge of bowling in Australia is pretty different to the challenge of bowling in England, but I am prepping myself for that.”

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