By Wisden India staff in Chittagong
“T20 isn’t all about power, it’s about skilful placement of the ball and we’ve got players who can do that,” argues England captain
“You have to adapt to conditions very quickly, but I think one of the major things in such a short tournament is to have clear roles as players and a bit of consistency. In Sri Lanka, I don’t think we were 100% sure on our best side, I’m not saying we’re 100% sure on our best side here but I think we’re more clear on what roles we want certain guys to play,” said Broad a day before England’s first game of the tournament.
“With it being such a short tournament, six games to win the World Cup, you need to give guys a go and a bit of consistency in selection. I think that’s something we’ll be pushing towards, at the end of the day with consistent selection you need guys to perform and that’s something that the players haven’t done for the last six months, in all formats of English cricket. But I think that when players are clear in their role there’s a much higher chance of them performing and that’s something we’ve certainly learned from.”
Broad counted the positives from England’s warm-up match against India, which it lost comfortably. “The game against India did us a lot of good as a team. I know we lost but what we've talked about as a team, and Ashley Giles, as coach, has been focused on, is the processes and getting the small things right. We don't talk about ‘we'll win the World Cup’ or ‘we'll win tournaments’. It's about making sure you execute your little processes and if you bring them all together you'll go far,” he said.
Specifically speaking, Broad believed that the bowlers had shown in the India match that they could do the job in these conditions. “I thought India was one of the best death bowling performances we've seen so far – bowling at two world class players,” said Broad. “The way we played the first six overs with the bat was really good again. There are positives coming out. The fielding was a highlight too. There are little things to carry into the game. I know there was the disappointment of losing but there was a lot of excitement from that game and belief it will turn for us.”
Broad also said that England has been guilty of starting poorly in big tournaments in the past and that the team was aware that it would have to do things differently here. “I think it’s well documented that, as an England side, we tend not to start series overly well. That’s something that we’ve mentioned within the changing room, it’s a non-negotiable here, with the way the World Cup’s set up, a lot of good teams are going to make it to the semifinal, so you’ve got to put yourself up there as a frontrunner to start with,” he said.
“We’ve played a lot against NZ in the past 14 months, we had a long tour over there, they came to us this summer. So we’ve a lot of knowledge about their players and there’s a bit of specific plans gone into them but it will be about us as an England team adapting to the conditions here. I don’t think it’s going to turn square, there’s been a lot of talk about us playing spin but under lights it has just skidded on, so we can take a lot of positives from that as a team that we can almost look to target spinners.”
If England finds themselves lacking genuinely brutal power hitters, Broad did not see this as a major handicap. Rather, he believed that it was smart hitting that was required. “I think power hitting is very important, but you also have to be clever. You saw (Virat) Kohli get 60-odd against us the other night, you wouldn’t have said that was express power hitting but he hit gaps really well, he hits over extra cover, he hits straight, so finds the boundaries,” pointed out Broad.
“Twenty20 cricket isn’t all about power, it’s about skilful placement of the ball and we’ve got players who can do that. You’d say Eoin Morgan is up there as one of the best in the world at that. He’s not got a huge amount of runs in the past two weeks, but the tournament is ahead of us and World Cups are made for big players, who like to perform on the biggest stage. Morgs is one of them and we’ve got some players who can thrive on that.”