Stuart Broad has suggested England’s fresh energy could help them miles for their attempts to regain the Ashes. The final day of their intra-squad warm-up in Brisbane became more of a batting practice session, but with both England and Australia experiencing inconsistent preparations for next week’s first Test at the Gabba, Broad said the mental battle would carry greater significance.
Test Cricket is a mind game – Broad
“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,” Broad told reporters in Brisbane. “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.
“We know Test cricket is a mind game, we know 80% of that’s going to be getting the brain right, making sure our competitive juices are flowing and making sure that we’re switched on to what’s coming, but we just needed that extra bit of physical work to make sure that we will be ready.”
First couple of days at Gabba will be very crucial – Broad
England have a zero next to their account in the equation of winning a test in Australia. They have not won a single test since sealing the series at the SCG in 2011 – losing nine out of ten in the process – but with the home side having not played Test cricket since defeat to India in Brisbane in January, Broad said that the lack of preparation on both sides could ultimately work in the favour of the English players.
“We’ve just been scrambling around to get physical prep right,” he said. “So I think getting closer to the game is when we start focusing on where we’re going to bowl, what specific plans will be at the Australian team. Normally in an Ashes series leading in you’d probably have had those discussions earlier and build it into your practice, but half the squad in the head coach only got out of quarantine three days ago.
“So it’s been a unique start, but I see that as a positive actually. I’ve been on Ashes tours where we’ve been extremely well prepped to play three or four first-class games before and we’ve come out on the losing side. Arguably, we’re going to be the freshest England team ever going into an Ashes series. We should have a lot of initial energy, we should have a lot of buzz throughout the next few months. So yeah, I’m sort of seeing that as positive.
“We know that it’s the first couple of days at the Gabba that’s important and can set up our series. Australia lost their last game at the Gabba, so will that be on their minds? Probably not as it’s quite a long time ago. But I think for us it will just be not coming here with too many preconceived ideas about how the pitch will play, how the Aussies will play. It’s a bit of a lottery. I don’t think anyone knows how batters will settle, having not faced a red ball [in Tests] for 10 months. It’s going to be a mental game, and mistakes will be made by both sides, but whoever can capitalise and grab the key moments next week will come out on top.”