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News

Stuart Broad takes his own advice to live in the moment

"I've changed my mindset over the winter and since Hobart," says senior seamer headed for hometown Test

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
06-Jun-2022
Stuart Broad celebrates the dismissal of Kyle Jamieson, England vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord's, London, 3rd day, June 4, 2022

Stuart Broad reinvigorated England's chances on the third morning at Lord's  •  AFP/Getty Images

If Stuart Broad learned one thing from his dramatic post-Ashes axing, it was to not look too far beyond his next match.
The old "one game at a time" phrase couldn't be more yawn-inducing but Broad's approach is much more nuanced than that. So, like his wise words to the England team mid-Ashes drubbing about focusing on the present rather than a future that might not come, Broad's advice to himself about not viewing this week's clash with New Zealand at Trent Bridge as potentially his last home-ground Test rings true.
As things stand, there is no Test scheduled for his native Nottingham next year but, with England looking to take an unassailable 2-0 lead after their stirring win at Lord's, Broad is revelling in being back in the action alongside fellow seam-bowling veteran James Anderson after both were controversially dumped for the fateful tour of the Caribbean in March.
"I've changed my mindset over the winter and since Hobart," Broad said. "It's not looking too far ahead, it's just enjoying each week for what it is, give everything, and then reset for the next week.
"Jimmy turns 40 this year, four years ago was he thinking 2018 might be his last at Old Trafford? Probably not. That just takes your mind away from enjoying the week.
"I started this season not knowing if I'd pull on the England shirt again, I was just enjoying every day for what it was. I wear the Notts shirt with the same pride as the England badge and I'll attack this week with the same mindset: walk out on that first day, look around the stands, and know how lucky I am to be there."
England's five-wicket victory over New Zealand on Sunday's fourth morning was their first in 10 matches played since they beat India at Headingley last August and heralded a new era under captain Ben Stokes and Test head coach Brendon McCullum.
"It's been one of the most fun weeks we've had as a team," Broad said, "just the relaxed environment, the way we're talking as a team. It's not too structured, it's just a case of what do you need to do to make you feel you're 10-foot tall?
"To see the way we've attacked that target shows that mindset. Things went our way - that no-ball makes it a different game - but it's no mean feat chasing a score like that. That's a mindset thing."
The no-ball referred to was Colin de Grandomme's overstep which would have seen Stokes bowled for just 1. Stokes, who took over from former skipper Joe Root ahead of the New Zealand series, went on to make a valuable 54, sharing a significant stand with Root, who struck the winning runs in an unbeaten century the following day after joining forces with Ben Foakes to guide England past their target of 277.
The match was Broad's first under Stokes as captain - he was memorably dropped when Stokes stood in for Root against West Indies in 2020 - and he gave a positive appraisal of the new leadership.
"It's noticeable from Stokesy and Baz that it's all about taking wickets," Broad said. "To start the Stokes-McCullum era with a win is huge for us. To chase 277 is awesome for us as a group.
"I don't think anyone who has come to Lord's can argue it's not been fun, the style of cricket, edge-of-the-seat at times, the crowd has got involved and it's something we want to take to Trent Bridge."
And Broad reiterated that his relationship with Root remained strong, despite hints of tension during the Ashes and Root being part of the selection panel which left him out for the subsequent West Indies tour.
"Joe and I spoke at length when he stood down as captain and I said to him how much he's meant to me as a captain, and what a privilege it was playing under him," Broad said. "I told him I hope he really enjoys the next few years, all that pressure has gone now, he's already a legend of the game, so he can just go out there and enjoy it.
"Joe and I are great friends and I've always been someone who can distinguish between business and pleasure. I can't fall out with someone because they don't pick me in a team, that would be a bit pathetic."
Broad, who turns 36 this month, would not have been the most left-field option as captain following Root's decision to step down - had his place in the side been secure at the time - given his experience and the ease with which he fronts the media.
But he played a leadership role on and off the field during the first New Zealand Test, buying into England's succession planning by joining Anderson and impressive debutant seamer Matthew Potts on a pre-match round of golf. Broad also helped whip the Lord's crowd into a frenzy in the middle of an extraordinary three-ball turning point during the third day when he dismissed centurion Daryl Mitchell and bowled Kyle Jamieson for a duck either side of de Grandhomme's bizarre run-out while Broad was belting out an unsuccessful appeal for lbw.
"Yesterday was probably using my experience, thinking the team needs something here," Broad said. "It adds a different pressure though. If you whip the crowd up, then bowl a half-volley and go for four you look daft. But I quite like that pressure. You'll see this summer, when I feel we need that extra lift and momentum, I'll do it again.
"People say Trent Bridge and Edgbaston are the best Test match atmospheres in the country and after what was a really interesting win at Lord's, it should see people who are heading to Trent Bridge have a lot of excitement about what is to come."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo