Like skipper Joe Root, veteran pacer Stuart Broad has urged England players to be mental switched on for the Ashes Down Under and is hoping that his team’s fortitude and belief will help them cover for lack of proper preparation before the series.
England’s first warm-up game could see only 29 overs being bowled before torrential rains in Brisbane led to its abandonment. The second match – a three-day intra-squad fixture – was thus not recorded as a first-class encounter and saw players almost left to have extended practise sessions in the middle.
Only just prior to the second warm-up game did England’s white-ball stars, who were made to go through a 14-day quarantine upon landing in Australia after the T20 World Cup, were allowed to link-up with the rest of the squad.
In such circumstances, Broad, who sent down 11 overs in the game against the Lions on December 2, said he is aware of the lack of pre-series game time in Australian conditions. But with only four days left before the first ball is bowled at the Gabba, his team must now make do with a lot of mental prep and be as switched on as possible.
“I don’t think any cricketer leading into Wednesday can say they will be fully ready physically, but you can be 100% switched on mentally, and every player in that 22 is going to be finding their way into that game,”
“And that’s where you’ve got to fall back on previous experiences that you’ve had. That’s where the mental side of the game is going to be so strong come Wednesday.”Broad told reporters in Brisbane, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
For Broad personally, this will be his fourth Ashes tour to Australia – also expected to be his last – being part of the winning side back in 2010-11 and also the one that had successive disastrous trips in 2013-14 and 2017-18. The 35-year-old pacer’s overall record in Australia doesn’t give an impressive reading, but he has had his moments, averaging 27.52 for his 21 wickets in the 2013-14 winter.