England fast bowler Stuart Broad has come out and said that the second innings spell during the second Test against India at Lord's, was a very important spell for him and his confidence. Broad feels, it is the extensive work done to avail peak fitness leading upto the series, that is helping immensely.
Broad, who is England's second highest Test wicket-taker, was going through a long period of lackluster form, where he struggled to pick as many wickets as he would've liked in the Ashes Down Under, then away against New Zealand as well as Pakistan at home. Even though Broad bowled well at Edgbaston, he didn't get many rewards for it.
There is a growing perception around English Cricket that Broad, who is 32 and has a lost a bit of pace, isn't the same force he once was. This made Broad's 4-wicket haul in the second innings at the Home of Cricket all the more important.
He reiterated why, amidst youngsters like Sam Curran coming through, he is still as important for the team as he once was.
"I think the tweaks in my action in February have helped, I'm actually near to my fittest I've ever been throughout my career. Running fit, my fat percentage, all that sort of thing is really good at the minute. I feel fresh and fit and I think that's a little bit down to me not having overplayed in the past year I suppose." Broad was quoted telling ESPNcricinfo and added, "I mean this is a bit of a strange summer isn't it? Finishing against Pakistan on the second of June and not having another Test until the start of August so I don't feel tired I feel fresh, excited, every time I get the ball in my hand so maybe that has got something to do with it."
Broad also believes it is the consistency of their fast-bowling attack that has been one of the major differences between the two sides.
He said, "One thing I've noticed with this bowling attack with the first four innings we've had in this series we've been relentless, We're talking about passing spells on, not just bowling your six or seven and 'oh let's search for a wicket in the last two or three, oh I've gone for two boundaries, oh well someone else will have a go'", and added, "We're disciplined with the amount of good balls we're bowling, we're giving no free boundaries away, we build the pressure and hand on the spell to the next bowler and the next bowler comes on with the pressure built so the chance of getting the wickets straight away is there."
"Whereas if you're getting it wrong as a bowling group you might bowl your four or five overs, you've got one-for and you think, 'well I want two wickets here'. You try your inswing, you try your outswing and you go for eight in your last and then you hand it to the next bowler and they've got to build pressure from ball one. So we're having consistent pressure. And we talk about that as a group."
Broad also gave credit to Joe Root for being an excellent bowler's captain.
"Joe's been brilliant with his captaincy and saying right this is your last over: make it strong, almost like make it a maiden and pass it on to maybe Woakesy or Sam. With that clarity it allows you to create pressure for two hours of a session and that's something that's been very noticeable for me: that sometimes maybe in the past two or three years we've not managed to do." he said and concluded, "We've not passed spells on to the next bowler and we've maybe had pressure for 45 minutes and then lost the next hour. So it's something that we're discussing and something that Joe's been very clear that he wants that sort of collective pressure and we're delivering it."