Colombo: England skipper Stuart Broad wants to carry on the winning momentum from the warm-up game into the World Cup matches which for his team start with a clash against Afghanistan today.
Broad said he was delighted with preparations and confident about his team’s chances. “We have prepared really well, won both games over here, it has been a really good test for us as well,” he said. “First game against Australia, I thought we batted fantastically well, we maybe could have fielded and bowled slightly better. And then going into the Pakistan game, you probably won’t see a better fielding and bowling display than that to defend 111. Really delighted, the morale in the camp is brilliant, everyone is excited about getting underway and preparation has gone as well as we could have hoped.”
Broad refused to be drawn into the Kevin Pietersen controversy and tactfully ducked the question. “KP [Kevin Pietersen] has been around for a long time. He has done fantastically well for us. But he’s not with us at the moment and we have to put up with that and get on with it. The 15 guys who are in the squad are excited to be here, up for the challenge and that’s what you want coming into a tournament, Everyone’s excited about the prospect of starting the World Cup, being in a World Cup, putting an England shirt on and as a captain, that’s exactly what you want and hopefully we will have a really good three weeks,” he said.
Broad did not reveal whether he will strengthen his spin attack, though the wicket is likely to back spinners. “We can only judge on the basis of the wicket we are going to be playing on and we haven’t had a chance to look at it so it is really hard to comment on the team balance without seeing the wicket because you obviously have to adapt to the conditions. However, one thing is for sure, selection is going to be very tough. Everyone has been given the chance to step up and perform and that’s what you want as captain. You want tough decisions to make which means everyone is on top of their game,” he said.
Broad will not allow himself to be affected by the Afghanistan’s fine show against India. “It’s important as an England team that we don’t focus too much on Afghanistan and we really look at ourselves and make sure we get our disciplines right. We have got some really good players in our unit and some powerful strikers of the ball and some skilful bowlers. So it is an exciting prospect. I am sure Afghanistan are really looking forward to the game and I don’t think it will let anyone down. It will be exciting.”
Broad also believes that his team has players who can do the job. “We have got world-class match-winners in the side. We have got guys who haven’t maybe played a lot of international cricket but we have got eight of us who won the World Cup two years ago and we have got players who can clear the ropes, without any doubt. We have seen that in the last few games. Eoin Morgan’s experience at No 4 is going to be good for us and we have got guys down to No 9 who can clear the ropes and I think you need that in Twenty20 cricket.”