Stuart Broad is confident England will carry no mental scars into their ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight match against West Indies today.
The captain himself is sporting a cut in the middle of his forehead after a swimming-pool collision with Tim Bresnan and the Yorkshireman’s bulky watch at the team hotel. But Broad is satisfied his will be the only wound, figurative or otherwise, worn by England today – despite their hapless performance against spin in Sunday’s record 90-run defeat against India in Colombo.
England will bid to get the defence of their title back on track at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and erase the memory of the struggle against Harbhajan Singh.
But West Indies have their own dangerous off-spinner in Sunil Narine.
Broad, though, retains faith in his batting team-mates – who have been prescribed words of encouragement rather than a technical overhaul since their descent to 80 all out at the Premadasa Stadium. “It’s all mental,” said Broad. “Getting back in a positive frame of mind and reminding ourselves that we are good players who have performed consistently. We have match-winners in our side, and it is certainly not one to worry or panic about.”
Broad is consoled, as he was in the immediate aftermath of his team’s weekend trouncing, that it came in a match of little consequence. “If you are going to have a blip, do it in the game that doesn’t matter,” he continued.
“Going into this game there is no feeling of there being nothing on this one. Against India, as much as we tried to get away from it, there was the sense that – whatever the result – it didn’t change what we did.
“It is important to get a good start in the Super Eights, because the games come thick and fast.”
England retain eight of the squad who won this tournament in the Caribbean two years ago, and Broad takes comfort from the continuity.
“It is something to remind us,” he said. “Winning ‘World Cups’ is about winning the important games. There is no point playing like a dream all the way through to the semi-final and losing that one, so it is about developing momentum.”
England will respect but not fear West Indies, for whom destructive opener Chris Gayle is only one of several obvious dangermen. “We played against West Indies this summer and we know they are a dangerous side. They have had success in the Twenty20 format, and they have players who have done well in the IPL.”
Not least among those is Narine, but Broad added: “We have not found out yesterday that people are going to bowl spin at us. We knew that, because that is the conditions we will face. It is important as individuals we counteract that.”
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy is happy to portray Narine as a major cause of concern for England – and to hint ominously at his team’s hitting potential on a relatively small playing area.
“England are the defending world champions. I don’t think they will allow the last game India to play on their minds,” he said. “I think everyone who comes on to bowl has a big part to play, but Sunil is our trump card. He has done well for us, and we hope he’ll have a big impact on the English batting.”
There is a theory that a well-struck ball flies further in the hill-country of Pallekele than by the sea – a suggestion which suits Sammy.
“Watching it on TV, it seems to travel. . . I hope a few of the England bowlers will ‘travel’ as well,” he said.