Stuart Broad on Twitter, credit card roulette and his prediction for The Ashes
The Ashes begin tonight (or tomorrow, depending upon where you are in the world) and the expectations of an England victory haven’t been this high in a generation.
While the Australian team appears to be in a state of disarray, the England team couldn’t be healthier. The batsmen are in-form, there’s clear leadership under the Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss partnership and the bowling attack rivals any in the world. Among those that will be looking to tear through Ricky Ponting and co is Stuart Broad. The poster boy of the England team, who became a household name after his Man of the Match performance in the final Test of the last Ashes, is ready for more.
“I’m extremely excited. There’s been a lot of hype so we’re so looking forward to it starting,” Stuart told The Independent Online. “We’re feeling confident and we really want to start well.”
England are currently favourites among the bookmakers to win the series, a result not achieved in Australia since 1987. Speaking with Stuart it’s clear there’s a real focus amongst the squad, adding good cause to the confidence felt amongst the many observers predicting an England victory. “We (the squad) are all on the same wave length. I haven’t set any personal targets – it’s about targeting each innings as a team. We’re looking at it hour-by-hour rather than across the whole series.”
Stuart is clearly keen not to let England get ahead of themselves, well aware of the quality that still exists in the Australia team: “They’re all world class players, although they are under a bit of pressure from the Australian media who’ve been giving them a hard time.” Stuart singled out Michael Clarke, an injury doubt ahead of the first Test, noting his fine performance in the 2009 series. But the Australian batsman Stuart really has his eye on is the Baggy Greens captain: “Ricky Ponting has been their world-class batsman for the last 10-12 years – we know what a danger man he is and what an important wicket he is to get. We’ll be delighted to see the back of him each time he’s out.”
Broad is predicting a tight series, but feels success or failure in Australia will come down to what England can do with the bat: “The key to the series for me is the amount of runs we score. Our batting line-up is looking in good form and in particular having Ian Bell at number six is very strong for us. We can put pressure on them (Australia) with the runs and take some off our own bowlers.”
The build up to the current series has been fuelled by the England players’ use of Twitter, which has seen them posting videos, pictures and insights into what’s happening in the camp. “Swanny (Graeme Swann) is the most addicted – when we go out to dinner he spends the whole time on his phone.” reveals Stuart. Among the more entertaining insights to come out of the camp has been the video of England players performing ‘The Sprinkler’ (apparently Tim Bresnan is the best dancer among the team) and the latest updates on how Kevin Pietersen’s moustache is coming along (questions about which were met with a stony silence). There had been talk of banning the players from using Twitter during the series, prompted by a few high profile gaffes by other sportsmen. “If we’re sensible we’ll be allowed to carry on,” says the 24-year-old. “It’s a good way to keep the fans updated on what’s going on – just as long as there are no silly rants.”
Putting the joking aside, and with a slight dig at the Aussies, Stuart offers his Ashes prediction: “It’ll be very tight – but I won’t put a number on it – that’s an Australian thing to do. Australia haven’t lost at The Gabba in 22 years (a record spanning 21 Tests). We know how important the start of the series is – we can show we’re here for a fight. I expect it to go down to the last Test.”
Something else difficult to predict are the games of credit card roulette played by the England squad, whereby through a game of chance someone is elected to pick up the cheque for dinner. In the most recent game, Stuart reveals Alastair Cook was the loser and tells me how he’s yet to lose a game himself: “I haven’t lost yet – I recently got a new bank card and I haven’t lost with it, it’s been very favourable for me.” As one of England’s key players in this series, English fans will be hoping his good fortune continues.
Stuart Broad uses Maximuscle, Europe’s leading sports nutrition brand to maximise his sporting performance www.maximuscle.com/stuartTagged in: Cricket, england, Stuart Broad, The Ashes
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