Broad demands winning start
11:42am Friday 21st March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Captain Stuart Broad has told his England side a winning start at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh is "non-negotiable".
Few England cricket teams have arrived at a global tournament with expectation around them so low, a combination of their woeful winter in all formats and the controversial absence of their likeliest T20 match-winner, Kevin Pietersen.
They take on New Zealand in their Group 1 opener in Chittagong on Saturday having won only one of their last eight matches in the format, but Broad intends to end that sequence.
The skipper, who expects to be fit despite battling an ongoing tendonitis issue in his right knee, said: "I think it's well documented that, as an England side, we tend not to start overly well. That's something that we've mentioned within the changing room, but it's a non-negotiable here.
"With the way the tournament's set up a lot of good teams are not going to make it to the semi-final, so you've got to put yourself up there as a front-runner to start with.
"We've played a lot against New Zealand in the past 14 months, we had a long spell over there and they came to us this summer, so we've got a lot of knowledge about their players but it will be about us as an England team adapting to the conditions here."
Question marks over Broad's participation against the Black Caps have been circling after a recurrence of his ongoing knee condition flared up in West Indies earlier in the month.
He missed the last two T20 matches in Barbados and has sent down just two overs, in Wednesday's warm-up defeat to India, since arriving in Bangladesh.
"I'm pretty confident, no, very confident of playing a part on Saturday and in the rest of the tournament," he said.
"The knee has come up pretty well from the India game. That was quite a new position for me as a player, to have my first bowl and fitness test during a game.
"But it actually gave me a lot of confidence having had 12 balls in the middle, because we know how different it is bowling in nets.
"It has been a long winter for me personally, with the amount of overs I've bowled and these 10 days have just freshened me up so I can really come firing into this World Cup."
With the match starting at 7.30pm local time, evening dew is expected to play a major factor in the match.
With spinners finding it harder to grip the ball in such conditions, Stephen Parry is vulnerable to Broad's return - with Chris Jordan, Tim Bresnan and Jade Dernbach offering the other seam options.
England attempted to mitigate the dew factor by using their final practice session to train with balls that had been dunked in water before use.
"It looks quite obvious dew is going to play a part, so we're practising with wet balls," said Broad.
"We're getting the spinners bowling with wet balls and fielding with wet balls. It's not something you do very often - I can't think I've ever done it.
"But it's something we have to take into consideration because if you go in with three spinners and they can't bowl you've stuffed yourself a bit."
England appear unlikely to tinker with their batting order from the warm-up matches, despite back-to-back defeats, meaning a water carrying role once again for Ian Bell.