England ready for successful Ashes defence, says Broad
Stuart Broad believes the current England team are primed to defend the Ashes this winter after declaring “this is our time” due to the growing experience of the emerging generation coupled with that of himself, Alastair Cook and Jimmy Anderson.
“It’s hard not to be” was Broad’s response when asked about the confidence of Joe Root’s side, who after dispatching South Africa and West Indies during the summer can now talk openly about the series in Australia that starts at the Gabba on 23 November.
The 31-year-old, speaking yesterday after playing cricket outside 10 Downing Street in support of the Chance to Shine charity, outlined the reasons for this, explaining how Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Root, who have between 39 and 60 Test caps, are now unfazed by differing match situations.
Broad said: “That is when you learn as a player how to get your team out of trouble or how to put your foot on the throat, so to speak. I think we’re in an exciting place but Australia are the same.”
Test defeats at Trent Bridge and Headingley, to go with a raft of dropped catches that had the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, bristling, and newcomers in the
batting lineup, serve as a reminder that England remain imperfect.
But it was the response to the first of those losses in Nottingham – a 340-run defeat to South Africa – and that they did not fold in Leeds when West Indies dominated the opening two days, that shows signs of development for Broad. “We’re close to having our team sorted for the Gabba,” he said.
Australia have not lost at their Brisbane fortress since 1988 and Broad knows all about the hostile environment England will face there, having been portrayed as public enemy No1 by the local Courier Mail in the lead-up to the first Test in the 2013-14 whitewash defeat.
A similar environment is expected this time around. “As an England player you’d be disappointed if you didn’t get stick there – that’s gone on for years,” Broad said. “But I love all that, as you’re in the battle straight away and it sort of helps me as a cricketer.
“I was sledged by the West Indies 12th man [Raymon Reifer] at Lord’s last week when I came out to bat – that got me in the fight straight away and helped me get some runs.
“The great thing about Australia is that generally they like competitors – they like giving stick but if someone comes back, they respect that.”
Stuart Broad is relishing another chance to face Australia in what is certain to be the usual intimidating Ashes atmosphere