NOVICE 50-over captain Stuart Broad is hoping Ashley Giles’ ‘‘back-to-basics’’ regime can pay off with a much-needed victory over the West Indies to kick-start England’s new era.
Broad is leading the tourists in three one-day internationals at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the first today, before returning to his ‘day job’ in charge of the Twenty20 team for three more fixtures against the Windies in Barbados and then a shortformat World Cup in Bangladesh.
It is a step into the unknown in that 27-year-old Broad has only captained once in any 50- over match – England’s warmup win over a UWI Vice-Chancellor’s XI on Tuesday at the same venue.
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But there is little leeway for a learning process, because England simply must put some wins on the board as soon as possible after their miserable sequence of 12 defeats and a solitary victory across the formats against Australia this winter.
Broad is heartened at least to have coach Giles’ expertise on board, even if the former Ashes-winning spinner can be a hard taskmaster.
He said: ‘‘He’s great. He’s pretty relaxed but does set high goals for us and expects a lot from us.
‘‘He’s really coming down hard on us on what he expects...
things like not bowling no-balls in training because that can affect your length in matches.
‘‘He’s gone back to basics in making the players expect more of themselves in training to put into practice in games.’’ Broad’s squad, a Twenty20 specialist one in view of the imminent global tournament set to start as soon as this short tour is over, has reacted well so far to Giles’ urgings.
‘‘The guys have really enjoyed the first five or six days,’’ said the captain.
‘‘It’s been hard work, but we knew it was going to be physically hard work and were expecting it.
‘‘Hard work brings you closer.
Doing fitness sessions together, you drive each other on – so team bonds grow.’’ Giles spoke, before England departed, of a Caribbean ‘boot camp’ – and has been true to his word.
Physical fitness will take his team only so far, though, and Broad knows tactics - geographically specific to the Windies – will have to be spot on too.
They were, memorably, in England’s ICC World Twenty20 win in this part of the world four years ago – and Broad will be revisiting some of those tricks.
‘‘We were all a bit surprised how windy it was the other day and how much that affected which area the batsmen targeted,’’ he said.
‘‘We used that pretty wisely, and looking back to the World Twenty20 in 2010 we used that pretty wisely (then too).
‘‘We bowled into the deck and got the batsmen trying to hit into the wind, and I think that will be applicable on this tour as well.’’