Broad eyes march to glory
Stuart Broad insists the work to defend England’s ICC World Twenty20 crown begins against South Africa at Emirates Durham ICG tomorrow.
Broad leads England against South Africa in the first game of the three-match NatWest International Twenty20 Series looking to end the summer on a high in the shortest form.
However, eyes are already keenly trained upon the global showpiece that hits Sri Lanka later this month and the Nottinghamshire all-rounder wants some tough cricket over the coming days to complete the necessary fine tuning.
“It’s the start to our World Cup campaign and we’re looking to gain momentum throughout this series,” said Broad.
“The Test and one-day series didn’t go exactly according to plan but we’ve got the responsibility to do that over the next week.
“South Africa, I think, are number one in the Twenty20 format, so we know we’re up against a tough team but we’ve played some really good Twenty20 cricket over the past year.
“We need to develop on that and move forward ahead of Sri Lanka.”
In the more immediate future, Broad has minor concerns over the fitness of his bowling attack to face South Africa.
He himself broke the nail on the index finger of his bowling hand in practice this morning but expects to be fit.
"I lost my nail," said Broad."It's not very pretty at the minute, a bit frustrating on my bowling finger - but it will be fine."
Steven Finn was able to take full part in practice but may not be risked because of his stiff back.
"He's okay,” said Broad. “We're not 100% sure on tomorrow yet.
“He's got a bit of a sore back which ruled him out of the last one-dayer.
“I'm quite conscious that we'll want him in Colombo, so we don't want to blow a gasket just yet.
"It's quite important that we make sure he's 100% right if he plays tomorrow."
Fellow seamer Tim Bresnan has little chance of playing after having a scan on the bowling elbow which required surgery last December and then kept him out of England's Test series defeat against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
"Bressie's had a scan this morning, and we're still waiting for the reports on that,” Broad added.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers is confident the new challenge of Twenty20 cricket will ensure there is no danger of burn-out in his team after two months on tour in England.
De Villiers, an ever-present already in three Tests and a five-match NatWest Series of one-day internationals, believes the introduction of the sprint format will ensure there is a fresh energy in his squad.
“We’ve got a few new faces coming into the squad,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“We need that, a fresh look again, after being here for a long time.”
South Africa, 2-0 victors in the Test series, levelled up at 2-2 in the ODIs with a thumping victory at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
“We were happy with the way we finished off that series, after a couple of very disappointing losses in a row in the middle,” added De Villiers.
“The way the boys showed character was very nice, and we’ll take a bit of confidence and momentum out of that.”