Stuart Broad (above) has backed Alastair Cook to come good © Getty Images
Stuart Broad (above) has backed Alastair Cook to come good © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer


London: Jul 2, 2014


Stuart Broad has insisted England are anything but a depressed side after former star batsman Kevin Pietersen suggested there was “an underlying current of unhappiness” in the dressing room after recent defeats.

Despite being England’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats and their top contributor with the bat in Australia, South Africa-born Pietersen was cast into international exile by team chiefs following the side’s return from a 5-0 Ashes series loss.

That meant the former captain didn’t feature in England’s recent 1-0 home defeat by Sri Lanka in a two-Test campaign.

After the match Pietersen, along with Geoffrey Boycott and Shane Warne, criticised various aspects of England captain Alastair Cook’s leadership.

But England paceman Broad, developing a theme he’d started in his own newspaper column last weekend, said on Tuesday the “environment” within the England camp had improved since Pietersen’s departure.

He added the atmosphere created by Cook, who has now gone more than a year without adding to his England record of 25 Test hundreds, and recalled coach Peter Moores would benefit the side come next week’s first of a five-Test series with India at Trent Bridge.

“The environment that Cooky and Peter Moores are developing is strong and you can see that from the performances of the young guys coming in,” said Broad at the London headquarters of series sponsors Investec.

“When your environment is off — people in Australia were maybe mentioning that – young players can come in and be overawed by senior players and that sort of thing and it is quite hard to perform,” added Broad, who is set to be fit for the series opener at his Nottinghamshire home ground, despite being hampered by a knee problem during last week’s second Test defeat by Sri Lanka in Leeds.

– India’s ‘woeful’ away record –

“Instead we’ve had Sam Robson come in and score a hundred, Gary Ballance score a hundred, Liam Plunkett take nine wickets, Moeen Ali score a hundred — so that shows the guys coming into the set-up feel relaxed and like they can play.”

As for the scrutiny England are under after also losing a one-day series at home to Sri Lanka before the Islanders’ Test triumph, Broad said: “The pressure should build on an England side if you lose every series in the summer; that’s unacceptable.”

India haven’t won an away Test since June 2011, a run now stretching to 14 matches.

Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri said the bowling of the tourists, who were whitewashed 4-0 on their last visit to England in 2011, would be key to the outcome this time around.

“They have a woeful away record and it is because of their bowling,” said Shastri, speaking alongside Broad.

“The thing for me is that India need to get five bowlers in play and if they do that then we will have a competitive series,” added Shastri, a member of the 1986 India side that won a Test series in England.

“What would really help is the pitches, if they are dry then the spinners will come into play.”

India’s longstanding objection to the current Decision Review System means the upcoming Test series will see the on-field umpires alone in deciding when to call for replay assistance, with both teams unable to challenge their original verdicts.

Broad, who took a Test hat-trick against India at Trent Bridge in 2011, said the absence of DRS would add to the burden upon the umpires.

“The last series [between England and India in England in 2011] with no DRS, you’d probably say it favoured England,” Broad said.

“My hat-trick my second wicket was a big inside edge. Remember we got (Rahul) Dravid caught off his shoe lace.”

“It will be interesting playing without it because we’ve got so reliant on it.

“It will add a little bit of pressure to the umpires. They’ll have to really take their time to get decisions right.”