England star Stuart Broad claims Australia’s Ashes victory in 2021-22 does not count in his mind because Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible to function normally during the series.
Australia powered to a 4-0 win on home turf against England, but Broad feels the strict coronavirus regulations left the visitors dealing with an unfair disadvantage.
Fast bowler Broad and his teammates were kept in a lengthy quarantine and a Covid-protected bubble throughout the tour.
Now, with Australia set to visit England this year in the first Ashes since the ‘Covid series’, Broad has lit the fuse on a potentially explosive clash with his controversial jibe.
“Nothing was harsher than the last Ashes series. But in my mind I don’t class that as a real Ashes,” Broad told the Daily Mail on Thursday.
“The definition of Ashes cricket is elite sport with lots of passion and players at the top of their game.
“Nothing about that series was high level performance because of the Covid restrictions.
“The training facilities, the travel, not being able to socialise. I’ve written it off as a void series.”
England have been revitalised as a Test force by captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendan McCullum over the last year.
Broad doesn’t believe Australia is suited to emulate the ultra-aggressive template that England has used in its revival.
“It would be great for us if Australia try to take us on at our own game. If we can get them playing in a slightly different style they could make mistakes and that would be brilliant for us,” Broad said.
“Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja are all guys who like to bat time and accumulate. So if we can nibble away at them and just get them thinking, ‘Why are we not scoring quicker? Why are we not moving the game forward?’.
“I’d love Smith to dance down the track and sky one to mid-off early doors. That would be classic.”
Broad urges England to emulate 2005 Ashes success
Broad wants the team to replicate the success of the 2005 Ashes series and inspire fans across the country.
England regained the famous urn for the first time in 18 years in 2005 with a 2-1 series victory, which is widely rated among the team’s greatest achievements in the longest format.
“I just want the whole series to grip the nation and inspire kids the way 2005 did,” Broad said.
“I want our players to take positive options at all times and if there’s a day we get bowled out for a 100, it is what it is. As long as the next day we come back with the same intent and become even more aggressive and entertain even more.”
(With inputs from Reuters)
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