Stuart Broad said he is proud to be a member of an England side that is “unpleasant” to play against.
England’s ruthless streak has been on display during the Ashes, where they are an unbeatable 3-0 up against Australia heading into today’s final Test at The Oval in south London, and all-rounder Broad, who credits a spell in Australian grade cricket with having made him a more hardened player, believes the entire approach of the England side under coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook has been key to their success.
“There’s one thing for sure about this England team and that’s we’re tough,” Broad, the hero of the 74-run fourth Test win at Chester-le-Street with a match-winning spell of six for 50 on the final day, said on Monday. “We’ve come through tricky times and stand up when we need to be counted, which is quite an un-English thing. We want that to continue.”
“There’s no doubt the country is proud of this team and what we’ve achieved because fans like winning teams. We want to win and make them happy,” he said. “We do have a win at all costs mentality. I think we’re quite an unpleasant team to play against at the moment. Teams won’t play against us and enjoy the experience. That’s what we want.”
“You always have a responsibility to the fans and youngsters because you’re role models. You have to play hard, but fair, that’s how the spirit of the game is defined,” Broad said. “We’ve been accused of all sorts, but those things aren’t remembered, it’s winning the series that will be remembered.”
England are now one win away from claiming four victories in a home Ashes series for the first time and Broad said: “There’s a huge hunger in the team and there’s no bigger carrot than being the first [England] team to beat Australia 4-0.”
Victory at The Oval would also be a boost for England ahead of the return Ashes in Australia later this year, where they will be looking for a fourth successive series win.
“It’s been amazing to have been part of three Ashes series and won three. Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and myself have not been on the losing end of an Ashes series and I’d like that to continue for as long as possible,” said Broad, whose father Chris, a former opening batsman, was a key member of England’s Ashes-winning side in 1986-1987.
“We have Twenty20s, ODIs [one-day internationals] and another series against these boys. We need to keep throwing punches and keep damaging them,” added the 27-year-old, England’s Twenty20 captain.
Broad certainly played his part at Chester-le-Street where Australia, well-placed at 147-1, collapsed to 224 all out chasing 299 for victory.
“Australia will definitely have felt they could have won that game. They’re moments we can draw on in the future because there might be moments in Australia when we’re behind,” Broad said. “It’s what we’ll remember when we find ourselves in tough positions, it’s certainly that sort of communication when we’re out there. Remember this, this is the sort of fight we need to show.”
With Australia’s selectors widely criticized for chopping and changing during their side’s recent struggles, Broad praised an England panel headed by Geoff Miller.
“We’re lucky that we play in a time when selectors back players a little bit,” Broad said. “It would have been different if we had this group of players in the 1990s, because people would have two bad Tests and they’d be gone. When you do play a lot of cricket together, when you are 30 for three, which we have been in this series quite a few times, there’s no real panic in the changing room. You always believe that someone will step up to the plate and that’s a strong place to be.”