Broad: England have what it takes
Former England opening batsman Chris Broad believes the tourists’ confidence may have taken a knock in the series-leveling defeat at Perth, but insists they still have the form to retain the Ashes in Melbourne.
Broad, father of injured paceman Stuart, was player of the series when England last won the urn Down Under - in 1986-87 - thanks to victory in the fourth Test at the MCG.
In that match he scored his third consecutive first-innings hundred, which helped Mike Gatting’s side take an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Now an International Cricket Council match referee, Broad is a keen observer in the current series, of which Stuart played in the first two Tests before being ruled out of the remainder with a torn abdominal muscle.
Broad senior, who won 25 Test caps, argues England’s first defeat of an otherwise successful tour should not derail their Ashes hopes.
“For sure they had a bad game but you don’t lose form overnight,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“You can lose confidence, but you can’t lose form. I think the way they played in the series to date, they should have the confidence to go out there and perform again at Melbourne.”
As a former left-handed opener, Broad has being pleased with Alastair Cook's displays during the series after a summer of underachievement for the 25-year-old.
Cook followed up his career-best 235 not out in the Brisbane opener with 148 in England’s innings victory at Adelaide.
“It’s been very pleasing, particularly after he was being written off at the start of the tour,” said Broad.
“At the start of the tour, everyone thought the battle was going to be won and lost with the performances of the top four batsmen and certainly in the first two matches, England’s batsmen came out on top.
“The Australians have an uncanny knack of coming back into any series and we haven’t seen the best of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke at this stage so that’s a worry for England I’m sure.
“If they can find the form they found in the first two Test matches, then I certainly think we have the bowling attack to knock over the Australians.”
Following two impressive England performances to start the series, Broad struggled to pinpoint what went wrong in Perth.
“It’s a very difficult one to put your finger on really,” he admitted.
“There is an awful lot of talk of England on top and how they were going to tie up the series and maybe there’s an element of getting carried away.
“The Australians are always a fighting team, whether they are winning comfortably or behind. Whether there was a bit of over confidence I don’t know.
“Mitchell Johnson swung the ball, which was unusual for Johnson, so maybe England weren’t necessarily prepared for the swinging ball.
“I’m sure Andy Flower and his coaching staff have looked long and hard at why the England team didn’t perform on that day and hopefully they will have the answers for when Melbourne starts.”
After such a humbling defeat, Broad who scored six Test centuries in total, insists England have to do the simple things well to restore their confidence.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about getting back to basics and getting back to the simple things,” he added.
“When you’re out of form there are so many things that go through your mind about your head, feet and hand positions.
“It’s not about that; it’s about the red ball coming towards you and making sure you get your bat on it properly.
“It’s just the simple things and I think the game becomes hard and complicated to people who are thinking about lots of different things rather than thinking about the simple things.”
Much has been made of the standard of the current Australia team, but the former Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire batsman knows the hosts have enough team unity to fight all the way to reclaim the Ashes.
“I think there has been some strange selection decisions,” Broad revealed. “Australia in the last 20 years have identified players who play in all forms of the game and they have stuck with those players.
“There are one or two question marks about players who have been selected, but I think the way they came out after the third Test saying this is our 12 for Melbourne will give their team a certain amount of confidence.”