All-rounder Stuart Broad is itching to get back into action with England in the NatWest One Day Series against Australia.
The Nottinghamshire seamer visited Lord's to promote the new Codemasters cricket game International Cricket 2010 - for which he is the cover star.
Playing computer games is the closest Broad has got to cricket in recent months, as he was confined to the gym by the ECB coaching staff - with the aim of ensuring he's fit throughout the year.
"'Rest' is a forbidden word" Broad insists "it’s been anything but!"
"I’ve been in the gym almost every day. It’s been tough but hopefully it’ll stand me in good stead for later in the year.
"I enjoy it [the gym work] but I enjoy playing more. Nothing beats the satisfaction of taking wickets, getting runs and winning games.
"I feel stronger. I can only see if it’s done me good if I go and get wickets against Australia. I’ve certainly improved my fitness."
Itching to get back
Broad has found it hard being given a watching brief during England's recent matches:
"I’m an awful watcher - I hate it. I want to be playing.
"I've barely watched any cricket recently. I came to the Saturday of the Test [England v Bangladesh at Lord’s] but it rained!
"It’s tough. It’s tough seeing it come up on the tele but it makes you realise how much you love it and want to get back playing.
"I’m itching to get back to playing."
Broad finally got back to playing with his county, Nottinghamshire, taking in a win and a defeat in two of their Friends Provident T20 matches.
'Different brand of cricket'
But what of the Aussies? Vanquished in the Ashes Series last year but they bounced back, thrashing England in the one day series which followed:
"England are playing a different brand of cricket from what we were playing back then." Broad argues.
"We’ve beaten South Africa in South Africa - only the second team ever to do that; won in Bangladesh pretty comfortably and won the T20 World Cup.
"I think we’ve turned our ‘coloured clothing’ foundations around really - it’s up to us to continue that momentum now."
With England working so hard to preserve the fitness of their fast bowlers (Broad's place in the gym has already been taken by Steven Finn) Australia's Mitchell Johnson will be a noticable absentee from the series - missing through injury:
"[Mitchell Johnson]’s been a massive player for them over the last couple of years, he’s taken regular wickets." says Broad.
"We know the skills he has in his locker - his batting’s become very dangerous as well. He’s a big loss for the Aussies but I’m sure they’ve got some talented players to come in."
Broad's been working on his own batting too, working with England batting coach Graham Gooch:
"It’s building innings really. I’ve been good in the past at getting good 30s and even 60s need to take that on if I want to score Test match 100s.
"It’s difficult because the amount of time I spend in the middle is not enough. I’ve batted twice in the middle since January which makes it hard to gauge where you’re at."
Building innings - and in double-quick style - is certainly not beyond Broad in a digtal format.
The smiling seamer is all too happy to display his skills at International Cricket on the XBox - promoting one 'S. Broad' to open the innings and rapidly amassing 51-1 from just 2.4 overs - nearly 4 runs per ball!
"We take the X-box and PlayStation away with us on tour and some of the lads play it - it’s a good game. It’s funny to see the lads you see in the changing room every day come to life in a computer game!
"My tip for playing it: when you’re bowling, set an out-swinger then when you’re just about to bowl it press for an in-swinger. You’ll stuff your mate out of sight as he’ll be expecting the out-swinger.
"When you’re batting - if you move down the crease, L1 and L2 on the PlayStation - you move down the crease and smash it out of the ground!"
In this form the real-life Aussies will have to watch the life-size Stuart Broad - his digital doppleganger looks in great nick.
England v Australia at Lord's
The Australian's come to Lord's on Saturday 3 July for the fifth match in a five match NatWest Series.
Tickets are currently unavailable due to high demand. However, you can follow the game live from Lord's with our exclusive (and free) live text commentary service.
We report direct from the Ground so you get the news and action as it happens. During the one day international we'll also be giving away ten copies of International Cricket 2010 - thanks to Codemasters.
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