KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Stuart Broad insists he is 100% fit and has highlighted England’s ICC World Cup warm-up fixtures as crucial to regain some momentum ahead of the tournament.
Speaking at the launch of The Broad Appeal (opens in a new window) at Lord's, Broad expressed his confidence that the side can bounce back from a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Australia and launch a realistic title challenge.
England play their opening World Cup fixture in Nagpur, India on Tuesday 22 February after warm-up clashes with Canada and Pakistan in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Broad has not played any competitive cricket since picking up a stomach injury during the victorious second Ashes Test in Adelaide in December.
The 24-year-old admits his preparation has been far from perfect but hopes both he and the side can have a significant impact on the competition - starting with the warm-ups.
"I feel 100% to be honest. It’s been a bit of a long road back but I’m feeling fit and feeling strong and I’m hoping to play a full part in the World Cup." said the Nottinghamshire all-rounder.
"If I’m going to play a full part in the World Cup these two warm-up games are important for me to test out where I’m at.
"More importantly for the England team, we need to make sure we take momentum into the World Cup."
Fellow World Cup squad members Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad impressed in Broad’s absence Down Under with Chris Tremlett also excelling in the Ashes series.
But Broad, who is currently ranked number nine in the ICC’s One Day International bowling rankings, sees himself as an important part of England’s plans.
Broad, who has played 73 One Day Internationals, also believes he could be part of a trophy lifting side in the sub-continent.
"I believe we can win the World Cup but I think it’s important as a team that we don’t look too far ahead." he added
"We need to focus on the certain games that we have in short periods and have short targets and not look too far ahead.
"I’m not nervous about my place in the side. At the end of the day if you take wickets and score runs then you play - whether that be for Nottinghamshire or for England. It’s going to be my aim every time I step out on the field.
"Certainly in the One Day side I feel very settled in my role there and I’m just looking forward to playing any sort of cricket again really."
Though Broad has spent more time than he intended in the UK this winter, many of England’s squad have had just three days at home since departing for Australia in November.
The squad has been beset by injuries in the lead up to the tournament, with Eoin Morgan forced to miss the World Cup thanks to a fractured finger sustained Down Under.
Broad admits England’s preparation has been hectic but backed Morgan’s replacement Ravi Bopara to excel.
He said: "In an ideal world we’d have had more time between the Ashes and now to prepare but the schedule is what it is.
"It’s hectic but that’s part and parcel of being an international cricketer and we’ve just got to crack on and make sure we’re as refreshed as possible and ready for a good challenge.
"There’s a lot of depth in England County Cricket - we’ve got a lot of good players on the Lions tour at the moment - and I’m sure Ravi Bopara will take his opportunity with both hands.
"Morgan is going to be a big loss for us - he’s our best one day batter - but Bopara has an opportunity to play well."