Broad backs England to end drought
Stuart Broad believes that the World Twenty20 offers England their best opportunity yet to end their 35-year hunt for a major ICC Trophy, and feels that his personal preparation since last month's tour of Bangladesh has left him at the peak of his form and fitness.
Broad was made to work hard for his wickets on flat surfaces in Bangladesh, having overcome a worrying back spasm that had left his participation in the first Test in doubt. But following a month's break, he confirmed his readiness for further international action by taking eight wickets in Nottinghamshire's Championship victory over Somerset last week.
"I feel great," Broad told reporters in Barbados. "The rest was fantastic after Bangladesh to make sure the body got rid of all the niggles. Then this last week it was a fantastic experience helping Notts win and get some overs under my belt. I feel really fresh and excited about what we can do in this tournament."
Broad will be embarking on his third World Twenty20 campaign, and he has endured mixed fortunes in his previous outings - from being cracked for six sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh in Durban in 2007, to his role in the embarrassing defeat by the Netherlands in last year's tournament opener. Nevertheless, those experiences have taught him how quickly and easily a team can regroup in this format.
"We obviously stumbled against the Netherlands," he said. "But the great thing about this tournament is you can recover from that , and we qualified after beating Pakistan pretty convincingly and were actually quite unfortunate losing in a rain-affected game [against West Indies], where the Duckworth-Lewis stuffed us a bit."
England do not have home advantage to fall back on this time around, but they gained plenty of experience during their eventful tour of the Caribbean last year, in which they bounced back from a 1-0 defeat in the Test series to win their first limited-overs series in the West Indies.
"If we can use the knowledge we gained here last year, I think we can go far," said Broad. "I think we've got a really well-balanced squad here, batters who can hit boundaries all the way through the order, good spinners - and I think the team is really excited about our prospects. This is one of the best chances an England squad has had since I've been involved in an ICC event. We've got the players to do the business."
Five of England's batsmen go into the tournament with IPL experience under their belt, although none of the bowlers put themselves forward for the same opportunity - a fact that Kevin Pietersen questioned in a recent interview. However, Broad was unrepentant about taking a break rather than seek the extra knowhow on offer.
"Obviously, I want to experience the IPL at some stage, it looks a fantastic tournament," he said. "Every player involved in it has only got good words to say. But I am pleased I had the rest this time."