Broad plays down Ashes ‘war’

LONDON: England paceman Stuart Broad is refusing to rise to Australia opener David Warner’s declaration of “war” as Joe Root’s men prepare to fly out to defend the Ashes.

The pugnacious Warner said earlier this month he would “dig deep to get some hatred” for the England team ahead of the series, adding: “As soon as you step on that line it’s war.”

Like Warner, Broad is familiar with the hostilities of the old rivalry but as England prepare to head Down Under, he is keeping calm.

“I don’t have to hate them,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s a game of cricket, not war.”

The Australian public, urged on by coach Darren Lehmann, heckled Broad throughout the 2013-14 series over his failure to walk for a clear nick in the previous series in England — during which Warner was the designated villain after throwing a pre-series punch at Root.

“Actually I loved that trip, I liked the pantomime villain stuff,” said Broad. “As a cricketer it was as close as you get to being a footballer playing away from home. [Lehmann] needed something to unite the public and media behind the Australian side and he chose me.”

It was football that provided Broad’s inspiration on that tour as he drew on another fierce rivalry — former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira’s animosity with Manchester United counterpart Roy Keane and manager Alex Ferguson.

“Because I knew it was coming, I prepared for it,” said Broad. “I read Alex Ferguson’s book about how he’d once told Patrick Vieira, who’d had dog’s abuse from the Old Trafford crowd, ‘they wouldn’t be abusing you if they didn’t respect you’.

“Whether Aussies meant it that way, that’s how I decided to take it. They were only doing it because they were scared of me.”

Australia captain Steve Smith has targeted England’s inexperienced batting line-up this time around.

But Broad said: “When you go to Australia you have to have a genuine belief in your team that you can win. And I have that. I believe we can win.”


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