Image courtesy of: The Telegraph
“I certainly think we are an unpleasant team to play against at the minute”
Fresh off winning the Ashes 3-0 against Australia, England pace bowler Stuart Broad believes the entire squad has grown in confidence and the 27-year-old had no hesitation in boldly stating that his side are one of the toughest teams there has ever been.
There were moments throughout the series where Australia looked to have the upper hand, but Broad, being as calm and cool as ever, noted that no one panicked since “we know someone is going to step up”.
“When you have played a lot of cricket together and you are 30 for 3, which we have been a few times in this series, there is no panic in the changing room,” Broad said. “We know someone is going to step up.
“That comes from awful experiences like in Jamaica when we got bowled out for 50. Those journeys along the way help grow a belief because you have the experience of when you are in trouble of getting out of it.
“We had a great moment after the Durham game. We sat around having a beer in the changing room in a circle chatting about everything that had happened in the series. On Sky they were showing highlights of the 2009 series and a lot of the guys involved had played 16 Tests or so. The same group is still here and now we have played 60 or 70 Tests.
“We have some good experience in the changing room. Anyone who has an idea will stand up and speak their mind, which is a strong place to be.
“The changing room expects a lot all the time. If we have had a bad two hours we are honest, and say let’s sharpen our game.
“When guys have played more cricket together, you can take honest feedback a lot better. When you have played two or three Tests and someone says ‘that is not what is expected of you,’ you go into your shell a bit. Now you can say, ‘sorry, I am better than that,’ and bowl better. We are honest. There are times when there might be disagreements, but it is international sport and sometimes that is what you need.
“We are lucky we play in a time when selectors back players. It would have been different if we had this group of players in the 1990s. If they had two bad Tests they would be gone.
“But now, because the selectors have backed a group of players, we have a collective experience and belief in each other.”
With England having remained undefeated for a stretch of 13 Test matches, it comes as no surprise that Broad and many of his team-mates are on cloud nine.
“One thing about this England team is we are tough,” Broad said. “We come through tricky times and we stand up and want to be counted. It is quite an un-English thing what this team has got. We want that to continue.
“There is no doubt the country is proud of this team and what we have achieved because fans like winning teams. We are proud of that. We do have a win-at-all-costs mentality. We want to win, we want to make the fans happy.
“Of course we always have a responsibility to the fans and youngsters growing up because you are role models. But you have to play hard and play fair. That is the spirit of the game and how it is defined. The whole ‘walking’ debacle I thought was pretty poor journalism because it was just one player who was picked up. I have named seven or eight Australians and four Englishmen where that has not happened in this series.”
Broad’s ‘walking’ controversy was definitely blown out of proportion, especially after Australia vice-captain Brad Haddin admitted to knowing that he had edged a delivery while batting.
One newspaper article even went as far as comparing Broad with cycler Lance Armstrong, who recently admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs.
“We have been accused of all sorts,” Broad said. “Those sorts of things are not remembered. It is winning the series that will be remembered. All this [silicon] tape trollop that got talked about was irrelevant to us as a team. It does not affect whether we put the ball in the right place.
“That stuff I hear is just embarrassing. The English public love winning especially against Australia. They know they are going to watch us fighting and trying to win this game because it is a huge game in the series. 4-0 is on our minds. We need to keep the cricket we have been playing going.”
Broad now believes that England are an “unpleasant” team to play against since other teams will not “enjoy the experience”.
“Any time you lose as a side it is damaging,” he said. “Australia will have felt they could have won that game. Looking at our point of view that gives us huge encouragement knowing we can win from positions when everyone thought we were in trouble. For us to turn it around in the way we did shows the character we have.
“They are the moments that, the further we go in our careers, we can draw on. There might be moments in Australia when we are really behind the game, but we can remember coming back to win. We certainly talk about that sort of thing when we are out there and remember the sort of fight we need to show.
“I certainly think we are an unpleasant team to play against at the minute. Teams will not come and play against us and enjoy the experience, which is what we want.
“That Champions Trophy final was one of worst experiences I have had. Watching the Indians win a game we should have won. It is a feeling that sends you into a complete low as a player.
“There is a huge hunger within this side to keep putting in strong performances. We met up as a team last night to discuss that. There could be a danger that we could just go and enjoy the week but no, we have got Twenty20 games, ODIs and another Test series against these boys [Australia].
“We need to keep throwing punches and damaging these players. There is a lot of cricket against these guys and if we give them momentum they are a dangerous enough side to hurt us.”