Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England pace bowler Stuart Broad has admitted that he suffered from nightmares after being hit in the face by a delivery from India pace bowler Varun Aaron last summer.
Broad required surgery after sustaining a broken nose and two black eyes during the fourth Test in Manchester.
Broad also conceded that he is still working with a sports psychologist to leave the gruesome incident in the past.
“I felt fine going out to bat,” he said. “Nervous but fine. But having had four months off subsequently I have had nightmares about it. I have had times when I have felt the ball just about to hit my face in the middle of the night. It has been quite tough.
“I am working with the sports psychologist to try and focus the mind on other things. After my operation, I don’t know if the drugs had anything to do with it, but I would wake up feeling like a ball had hit me in the face which is a bit strange.
“It is a weird thing to see that ball, thinking you are about to hit it. I still have that picture in my mind and I can remember it clearly. It is a weird situation.
“I get nightmares still and I wake up thinking I have been hit in the face by a ball,” he said. “Even when I get tired I see balls flying at me. My jaw clicks from it and if I have two glasses of wine I have black eyes.”
However, Broad knows that he has to overcome this difficult period and help his side get their World Cup campaign back on track.
“When things are not going well you tend to go within yourself and I think we were a bit like that in the field,” Broad said. “We don’t have natural ‘out there’ guys at all. Everyone’s lovely. Everyone’s really nice.
“It is a young group. It’s a danger with a young group that you’ve watched the guys you’re playing against on TV. But actually you’ve got to stand up and believe you can take on these sort of players. And we can. We’ve got the talent and skill to do it.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard this phrase going round our group at the minute – attitude over skill. It doesn’t matter how you hit them in the nets. Get out in the middle and front up and play. So that’s a big push we’re trying to go with at the minute.”
England have been accused of relying on data and statistics throughout the World Cup. In fact, Broad himself admitted to paying more attention to all the analysis instead of focussing on his own game.
“That is our fault because we’ve got it there to look at,” Broad said. “On our iPads there is a dossier on the other teams and you can go into it if you want to, and there I am beavering away.
“When we were at our best, we had characters like Trotty and Swanny. They couldn’t give a crap what anyone else was doing. They hardly knew who we were playing against. Maybe as a playing group we can get stronger with not bothering what the opposition are doing.
“We did that naturally when we had a lot of experience in our team. Now is the time for us to find our identity, rather than not worrying about what everyone else is doing. I have been looking at things like where Tillakaratne Dilshan’s strong areas are and where shouldn’t you bowl to Kumar Sangakkara, but actually from now on I’m not interested in that. I’m going to run in and bowl what I’m good at.”