Broad targets Canada return
Stuart Broad is confident he will be fit to return for England before the start of the World Cup next month after revealing he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a stomach injury.
Broad has been sidelined for the past eight weeks after suffering the injury while bowling in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.
The 24-year-old missed England’s Ashes success after he was forced to return home before Christmas but, after returning to Australia to step up his recovery last week, the seamer is hopeful he will be fit to return in England’s first World Cup warm-up game against Canada in Dhaka on February 16.
“My recovery is going very well, I’m probably a little bit ahead of schedule,” he said.
“I’ve probably bowled about 50-60% yesterday and I’ve pulled up fine this morning.
“Hopefully by the end of this Australian tour I will have come off near to a full run-up. My aim is to try and play the first warm-up game of the World Cup which is still two-and-a-half to three weeks away.
“I’m hopeful for that.”
Broad’s optimistic appraisal of his recovery is a rare bit of good news on the injury front for England’s bowlers over the past fortnight, as the squad in Australia for the one-day series has been reduced to the bare bones.
After Graeme Swann (back) and Tim Bresnan (calf) flew home early last week England’s already-depleted attack was weakened further following injuries to Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett yesterday.
Shahzad injured his hamstring during the 51-run defeat in Brisbane, which saw Australia take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the ODI series with two games to play, while Tremlett failed to take his place due to a slight side strain.
Both players are set to undergo scans tomorrow with Shahzad the more pressing case because he was, unlike Tremlett, selected in the 15-man World Cup squad.
England have responded by calling up Liam Plunkett from the England Lions tour of the West Indies, although the Durham paceman will not arrive in time for Wednesday’s penultimate match of the series in Sydney on Wednesday.
It is a worrying scenario so close to a World Cup with four of the bowlers in the squad injured, although Broad believes the respite from a demanding tour of Australia, which has entered its final week, may help ensure a clean bill of heath come England’s first World Cup game against Holland in Nagpur on February 21.
“The injuries are pretty minor so I don’t think that is going to affect any balance to the World Cup squad or anything like that, but obviously it is a little bit frustrating in this series to have lost as many players as we have,” he said.
“It’s been hard to find the right balance that we will go into the World Cup with. You can’t do anything about injuries in sport - that’s just the way it happens.
“We’ve had a lot of cricket on this tour, I think we’ve done well with the amount of injuries we’ve had.”
While England were storming to their historic Ashes success Broad was instead confined to the first stages of his rehabilitation in the cold of an English winter.
It is a situation he had accepted as a disappointing part of sport, and he returned to the squad without a hint of resentment.
“I’m an England fan at the end of the day. It was great to see the lads perform so well in the Ashes,” he said.
“It was difficult because it was freezing snow and cold and obviously I was disappointed to miss out on those celebrations and the achievements but I still feel a part of the team.
“I’m now very glad to be back. It’s great to be around on a match-day.
“I trained very hard at home, I only had a couple of days off in that whole period.
“I didn’t see a bat or a ball so it’s been nice to get back in the sunshine, have a bit of a hit and see the lads in a performance environment.”
It is a break that Broad believes may even benefit him in the long term with a busy schedule ahead.
After the World Cup the right-armer is due to join up with his new Indian Premier League franchise the Kings XI Punjab before moving straight into the start of the English summer.
“I have been unfortunate to miss the past seven weeks but we have got a huge amount of cricket coming up leading into our summer,” he said.
“I don’t need any extra motivation. I’m really looking forward to getting back and playing.
“This little break might just help me to fire on all cylinders for the next year or so.”