STUART Broad has revealed England will target a fast start when the opening Test of the summer begins at Lord’s tomorrow – and prove their minds are on the task of overcoming New Zealand only.
With the summer’s main act an Ashes series, the arrival of the Black Caps has been regarded as a side show.
Broad has insisted such thoughts are, however, not shared by the England side, especially after they had to fight to claim a 0-0 series draw in the reverse series in New Zealand earlier this year.
“We have a huge summer ahead of us, but nothing more important than the first hour here on Thursday,” he said. “We can’t look too far ahead. We have to focus on the opening bowlers or opening batters doing their job at 11 o’clock on Thursday.
“We are focused only on this week. I think it is very dangerous in a sporting environment to look too far ahead.
“We know we have a big job on our hands. New Zealand played fantastically well in New Zealand. We were a little bit under par, but we’re very determined to put that right.”
England only escaped a shock series defeat after Matt Prior and Ian Bell led a rearguard on the final day of the third Test in Auckland.
While Broad admits his side were below their best, he believes the character shown in saving the series revealed the hard edge that has lifted the current team into the top-two of Test cricket’s rankings.
“Looking back at New Zealand, okay our skills were not as good as they could have been, but the fighting character to bat out two days to save matches is the sort of character you need in Test cricket,” he said.
“We are a team that are hard to beat even when we don’t play to our best. That’s something we can take very positively out of that series.”
Broad also called on England’s batsmen to set up victory in Lord’s.
“We’ve shown the character to save Test matches when we haven’t been right but we need to show character to go and get 450 in the first innings,” he said.
“That’s where the positivity comes out of Test matches and that’s where you set up Test matches and not have to save them at the end.”
Broad heads to HQ in good form himself after impressing for county side Nottinghamshire to start the summer.
The 26-year-old claimed 12 wickets in two LV= County Championship games against Derbyshire and Durham.
“I feel really fit. I worked hard in April to make sure it [his fitness] was as good as it could be,” he said.
“It was nice to pick up four wickets in each innings and get a couple of runs as well. I’m going into this week feeling pretty fresh. It’s nice to bring that form into the Test match arena.”