Stuart Broad interview: England seamer explains how punditry has given him a...

Stuart Broad interview: England seamer explains how punditry has given him a greater insight

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Stuart Broad made Ricky Ponting one of his victims during his scintillating, five-wicket spell at The Oval in 2009 as England beat Australia to regain the Ashes.

The Englishman and the Aussie were reunited at the south London ground on Wednesday as part of Sky Cricket’s commentary team for the first one-day international of the five-match series.

It was Broad who was happier come the conclusion, with England earning a slender three-wicket victory over their rivals, thanks to three-wicket hauls for Moeen Ali and Liam Plunkett and half-centuries for skipper Eoin Morgan and Test counterpart Joe Root.

Broad’s absence from international white-ball cricket – the 31-year-old last figured for his country in a limited-over clash over two years ago in Cape Town – gave him the opportunity to sample life as a pundit, something he says he wishes he had experienced sooner.

“It has been fascinating coming in and being on the same team as Ricky, Kumar Sangakkara, Isa Guha – and Nasser Hussain, to a certain extent!” Broad told Sky Sports during England’s run chase.

“I wish I’d done more younger as you understand how it all works and that if you are getting criticised, a lot of the time it is not personal, it is just an angle to talk about your technique.

“If I’d have known how it all operated before then I would have been a lot more relaxed over the last couple of years. The media are just looking for something to talk about to give interest to the viewers.

“It was slightly nerve-racking before I went on air. Different nerves to playing, as I was stepping into the unknown somewhat. Credit where credit is due to the pundits because there is a lot going on.

“You do watch the game in a different way. You are watching every ball to see if there is something interesting you can note about the field or the seam position of the bowler.

“In the changing room you are only watching your own team and what they are doing – are Joe Root’s movements shaping up as usual? Is Eoin Morgan playing his usual positive brand of cricket?

“As a commentator, I watched it as an England fan but perhaps slightly more neutrally, as you don’t want to come across as just a cheerleader for England.”

Broad’s England place was questioned by Michael Vaughan ahead of the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley earlier this month – which the hosts won by an innings to earn a series draw – with the former captain saying the senior seamer could be left out to “ruffle” the dressing room.

Broad responded, as he has been doing since a tough Ashes series in which he picked up 11 wickets at an average of almost 48, with six scalps in Leeds as England recovered from their hammering at Lord’s a week earlier.

“I was slightly surprised [at the comments] and I didn’t feel they were massively justified,” added the Nottinghamshire man, who now has 417 Test wickets to his name. “But I have spoken to Michael and we are fine now.

“I like punditry – I understand that when players aren’t performing or are under pressure that you get the full force, while I know everyone has got a job to do in the media.

“But I felt like I had bowled pretty well at Lord’s and had come off an okay tour personally in New Zealand. I then ended up bowling nicely at Headingley to help us win.

“I felt in good rhythm and like I was making chances. Since February I have got something like 32 wickets at 16 in Test matches and Division One County Championship cricket, so that is a really good turnaround.

“I don’t think you can let comments affect you too much as then you are not doing your job properly. Plus, in an England changing room, someone is being talked about positively or negatively at every stage.

“Part and parcel of being an international sportsman is dealing with fair or unfair criticism and also when you are on the back pages when you are performing.

“You tend to go through the same journey as a player – built up before you make your debut, with people analysing your strengths and best performance, and then, when you have a bad game, which every player goes through, analysis of weaknesses and what’s the matter technically.

“You have to be able to pull through both of those. You have to deal with your emotions and not spike too much on the graph – not get too elated with the highs or too down with the lows.”

Broad used his break after the Ashes to “go back to basics” with his bowling, putting out pictures on social media of his tweaked action and wrist position.

The benefits have been clear – Broad claimed 11 wickets in two Tests at under 19 in New Zealand and then 14 in three games for Notts in the top flight before resuming England duty.

“It wasn’t like I stopped trying to improve in Australia, I just couldn’t find a way to improve as I was always trying to get ready for a game.

“When you are performing at the top level you don’t get many chances to go back to basics as you are in elite performance mode. It’s hard to break your technique or action down when it always needs to be at a match intensity.

“It was a great opportunity in February to do that. I feel a lot stronger for it and I have been threatening both edges of the bat since. Hopefully that can extend my England career.”

Broad’s next challenge will be India, with Virat Kohli bringing his charges to these shores for a five-Test series, starting at Edgbaston on August 1, live on Sky Sports Cricket.

India and their skipper will be looking for a vast improvement on their 2014 tour – the visitors were beaten 3-1, with Kohli managing just 134 runs in five games at an average of 13.40. Broad expects a stiff test.

“For hunger for runs, he is an incredible player,” Broad said of Kohli, who has struck 21 tons his 56 Tests, including six double centuries. “He plays all around the wicket, doesn’t have too many weaknesses and is a very competitive character.

“It is very exciting for the England team and supporters that he will be over here for a long Test series. It is up to us as a bowling attack on different types of pitches to be better than him, which around the world, not many teams can say they have been.

“In terms of bowling, Bhuvnehswar Kumar is probably their danger man. His skills with the Dukes ball were fantastic in 2014. On paper, India are a good-looking team so it should be a fascinating series.”

Broad will be back in his Test whites soon enough but says he does not hanker to put on his coloured kit again with England rising to No 1 in the world.

“It was a weird feeling walking out onto The Oval in my jacket and smart shoes and seeing the lads smiling and warming up. But it wasn’t a case of me thinking ‘I should be out there’ or there being any negativity,” he added.

“I look at all the players and think this is the best England team we have got fit. If it was a Test match and I was fully fit, I’d be a bit more disappointed but when you know the white-ball players are doing such a great job, you can’t have any complaints.”

Stuart Broad will also be part of the Sky Sports team for the second ODI between England and Australia in Cardiff on Saturday, Watch from 10.30am on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.

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(c) Sky News 2018: Stuart Broad interview: England seamer explains how punditry has given him a greater insight