Stuart BROAD is intent on changing England’s cricket history by winning the World Cup for the first time.
There is still no silverware in England’s cabinet from this global tournament after nine attempts dating back 36 years.
But as they prepare to take on favourites, co-hosts and previous winners India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in the second match of their campaign tomorrow, Broad is happily issuing public statements of intent.
England will need to upset the form book to get the better of this weekend’s opponents.
India began with an 87-run win over Bangladesh in the showpiece opening match, but England had to struggle for an eventual six-wicket success against Holland after an uncharacteristically mediocre performance in the field.
Broad, who took five wickets in each of England’s warm-up matches, acknowledges much better is required. But after missing the 6-1 one-day international series defeat in Australia because of injury, he is used to winning 50-over matches and is confident swift improvement will come.
He senses, in fact, that under coach Andy Flower this England team are capable of enjoying a victorious era – having already beaten the world at Twenty20 in the Caribbean last year and followed up with an Ashes series win in Australia this winter.
“We have got to a few finals but not won it,” he said of England’s unimpressive World Cup CV. “But that is in the past – and since Andy Flower took over, we have been changing the history of English cricket.
“We won our first ICC tournament in the Twenty20 World Cup and we won in Australia for the first time in 24 years – so we are achieving things other England teams haven’t.”
England fared poorly on their last visit to India, losing a one-day international series 5-0 in 2008 but Broad sets more store in that ICC World Twenty20 success in the West Indies.
He said: “We have the confidence of winning big tournaments, and that is important.
“This changing room is very different to the one that came here a couple of years ago.
“We’ve played a different brand of cricket in the last 18 months and that is something we will all look to continue over here.”
Excellent fielding was a constant in England’s Ashes victory, so it was surprising that they should be so clumsy against the Dutch in Nagpur.
“We have an aim to come to this World Cup and show our fielding is the best in the world – and it has been over the past 18 months,” said Broad. “We did not get it right against the Netherlands. We threw overthrows; we dropped chances; we didn’t even go for catches at times. We just made silly errors that should not happen on an international field.”
England’s bowling was also off colour on Tuesday, with Broad’s new-ball colleague James Anderson suffering most.
“Mentally, we know the plans we are trying to bowl to, but against the Netherlands we just did not execute them well at all,” he added.
Against the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and other punishing batsmen in India’s top six, England’s bowlers know they face an onerous task to keep control at a compact venue.
But Broad is not fazed by that prospect or the inevitably partisan noise of a 38,000 sell-out crowd.
“We played a one-dayer here three or four years ago, and it was absolutely electric,” he said.
“You are going to get pumped up and, as long as we keep our emotions in check, I think the crowd will fire us up. The crowd will be Indian-dominant... but the crowd does not change the way you bowl the ball and hit it – which is what we have to focus on.”
England managed to complete their nets session yesterday, minutes before a torrential thunderstorm broke over Bangalore.
Flower and captain Andrew Strauss will have a fully-fit squad to choose from tomorrow.
India also have no significant injury concerns, with Sehwag suffering bruising when he was hit in the chest batting in the nets.