The cricketing summer begins at Lord's today with England taking on the West Indies before the Aussies arrive in July. And with Andrew Flintoff injured and Steve Harmison dropped, 23-year-old Stuart Broad has suddenly found himself at the frontline of England's Ashes hopes.
Esquire: Last year was obviously a traumatic one for England with both Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen resigning the captaincy. Are things starting to get back on a more even keel?
Stuart Broad: I certainly think that things are moving in a very good direction. I really enjoy working with Andrew Strauss - he’s a great captain, a very relaxed and responsible character, but he’s got a tough side. Combine that with Andy Flower, who's a very honest coach who lets you know if you’re doing well or doing poorly and who, on a personal level, has really helped me turn my batting around.
ESQ: You're only 23 and are already starting to establish yourself as a senior member of the side as both a new-ball bowler and a number 8 batsman. What are your goals for the summer?
SB: I feel like the West Indies trip really helped me to develop as a bowler and how to find different ways to get wickets in difficult conditions. Now Jimmy Anderson and myself have got a very good chance to build a partnership. Batting is also crucial for me and I want to take that to another level this year.
ESQ: Does becoming a genuine all-rounder involve doing twice as much practice?
SB: Yes, you’re really working hard on two disciplines, but that comes with being an all rounder and that’s something I really enjoy - it's basically a hobby for me. You also have to be more careful not to over work, not to put your body through too much too early. You’ve got to be very specific in what you do.
ESQ: Obviously, the Ashes are looming. Are you looking forward to it?
SB: People are obviously getting excited about the Ashes. I’ve been on the tube and people have already wished me luck against the Aussies. But as players we’ve got to focus on what we've got before that - the West Indies, the one-dayers and the World Twenty20. Then we can really start to focus on the Ashes. It’s a huge summer, very exciting for English cricket but it’s important for us to play exciting cricket early in the season to get the momentum going.
Stuart Broad was speaking at the launch of the new England ODI kit featuring adidas ForMotion™ and ClimaCool® technology. This year’s Ashes Test series will see adidas as the official kit supplier to the England and Australian cricket teams. For stockist details, call 0870 2404 204