England bowler Stuart Broad claims Australia’s Ashes victory in 2021-22 does not count in his mind because Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible to function normally during the series.
Australia powered to a 4-0 win on home turf against England, but Broad feels the strict Covid-19 regulations left the visitors dealing with an unfair disadvantage.
Broad and his teammates were kept in a lengthy quarantine and a Covid-protected bubble throughout the tour.
Now, with Australia set to visit England this year in the first Ashes since the ‘Covid series’, Broad has lit the fuse on a potentially explosive clash with his controversial jibe.
“Nothing was harsher than the last Ashes series. But in my mind I don’t class that as a real Ashes,” Broad told the Daily Mail on Thursday.
“The definition of Ashes cricket is elite sport with lots of passion and players at the top of their game.
“Nothing about that series was high level performance because of the Covid restrictions.
“The training facilities, the travel, not being able to socialise. I’ve written it off as a void series.”
England have been revitalised as a Test force by captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendan McCullum over the past year.
Broad doesn’t believe Australia are suited to emulate the ultra-aggressive template that England have used in their revival.
“It would be great for us if Australia try to take us on at our own game. If we can get them playing in a slightly different style they could make mistakes and that would be brilliant for us,” Broad said.
“Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja are all guys who like to bat time and accumulate. So if we can nibble away at them and just get them thinking, ‘Why are we not scoring quicker? Why are we not moving the game forward?’.
“I’d love Smith to dance down the track and sky one to mid-off early doors. That would be classic.”
© Agence France-Presse