Broad back and raring to go
Stuart Broad is desperate to put three weeks of gruelling gym work behind him by helping England to score a morale-boosting win over Australia in the NatWest Series.
Broad returned to the international fold today when he was announced as part of the 13-man squad to face Australia in England’s first one-day assignment of the summer.
Broad's inclusion comes after a three-week programme of strengthening and conditioning, instead of taking part in England's npower Test series with Bangladesh.
At first sight, the selectors' decision looked to be a message to Broad to take a break ahead of a packed summer, but the Nottinghamshire seamer has in fact been spending the last three weeks working on a punishing weights schedule at the National Cricket Academy in Loughborough.
The 23-year-old admits it was frustrating to spend so much time in the gym while his international colleagues beat Bangladesh, but he is desperate to make up for lost time by helping England build on their ICC World Twenty20 final success over Australia by winning the five-match series, which begins on June 22.
"I'm really keen to get back," said Broad. "It's hard for any professional sportsmen when you are not playing because you are not used to it.
"I came to Lord's on the Saturday of the first Test in my jeans and shirt and I'm usually in the dressing room.
"The time off gives you a great buzz, though. I'm certainly excited about continuing our momentum by beating the Aussies in a one-day series this summer. We know how hard that is going to be as a team but we are ready for it."
Broad, who decided against playing in the Indian Premier League this year to stay fresh ahead of a packed schedule, admitted at the time that he was disappointed to be left out of the Bangladesh series, which England won 2-0.
He insists the move will ultimately be beneficial, with games against Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh due to take place ahead of this winter's defence of the Ashes.
"Ultimately, I really do think it was a good decision," said Broad. "It was tough on the body, though; I was in the gym five days a week.
"One day I'd be doing maximum strength training on the legs, where I'd be lifting as heavy squats as I could, then the next day will be upper body doing bench press stuff.
"It's left me sore but that's how you strengthen and that's what I have needed to do.
"It's nice to see the hierarchy are looking not one or two weeks down the line, but months down the line instead."
Steven Finn starred with the ball against Bangladesh in Broad's absence.
The Middlesex fast bowler was named man of the series for his 15 wickets but he will now follow a similar course of conditioning after being left out of the ODI squad, who will warm up for the series with a game against Scotland next Saturday.
Broad believes the decision will help Finn avoid fatigue ahead of the Ashes, where the 21-year-old's pace and height could prove vital against Ricky Ponting's team.
"We have seen already how much of a talent he is and I think it's important he stays injury-free and fresh," said Broad.
"It's good to see the management looking after him instead of just bowling him into the ground, which could have left him injured when the Ashes came round."
England were brought crashing back down to earth shortly after the Ashes success last year when Andrew Strauss' team were beaten 6-1 in the subsequent NatWest Series.
Broad believes England have developed too much since then to wilt in a similar fashion this time.
"That was a long time ago," Broad said. "We didn't play particularly well but we had a real revamp when we went to the Champions Trophy and we have played a totally different brand of cricket since."