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PCA England Men’s Test Player of the Year

Stuart Broad has admitted his desperation for crowds to return to English cricket grounds at the start of the 2021 season after an entire international summer behind closed doors.

Broad enlisted England’s team psychologist David Young – who also works for Manchester City FC – ahead of the start of the first series of the summer against West Indies to ensure his “emotions are where they need to be”, and revealed his concerns about being able to perform without fans’ support.

And while those concerns did not appear to come to fruition in a superb summer for him, in which he took 29 wickets across five Tests, Broad said in a virtual media session for the NatWest Cricket Awards that he was optimistic England fans would be able to travel to Australia for the 2021-22 Ashes as well as attending the start of next summer’s cricket season.

“Obviously I’m desperate for crowds to be able to come back and enjoy our sport,” Broad said. “Let’s be honest, health and safety of people is much more important than that. But yeah, to be honest, I’m not even looking as far as Australia: I think England next April or May has got to be at the forefront of our minds to be able to get sports fans back into our stadiums.

“The experts will study everything and hopefully we’re in a position in our country that that could happen – I know in October, we were due to start getting some fans back into stadiums but things took a little turn for the worse.

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“I think Australia have done pretty well with it, haven’t they, so another year down the line we’d be hopeful that we can we can take our trusty support and the Barmy Army with us to Australia, because genuinely I do feel like it’s one of our best chances of doing well there with the quality of players we’re growing.

“It would be awesome to be able to take our home fans to an Ashes series because they’re such special occasions.”

England are not due to play Test cricket again until 2021, when tours to Sri Lanka and India are mooted to take place. In practice, the India series appears likely to be staged in the UAE, but Broad said he had no concerns about travelling overseas providing suitable Covid-19 protocols are in place.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t have concerns about going away to a bio-secure bubble because I’ve seen it work so well this summer,” Broad said. “It’s felt very secure. We’ve had teams fly over and come into our bubble, and it seems to have worked really well, so if the likes of the IPL continue to work I don’t see a reason why we can’t do these bio-secure bubbles all around the world to get cricket on the screens.

“I personally would be happy to go to anywhere as long as it was a bio-secure, safe environment to play some cricket because it gave everyone a boost this summer. If we got the go-ahead from the ECB – which I hope we do because I’m desperate to play some cricket this winter – I’m sure the players would be fully supportive of that.”

“One thing that’s very clear is training will be trickier than it was in April, May and June during the lockdown period because of the weather and being able to train outside. So there’ll be discussions about how we manage to peak at the right time and keep ourselves in condition.

“I really didn’t want this summer to end. From the team’s point of view we were really growing and doing really good things and from a personal point of view I was in great condition and in a great headspace, so I just wanted the summer to continue. But unfortunately, it couldn’t.”

Stuart Broad has been named International Men’s Test Player of the Year winner as part of the first NatWest Cricket Awards, which honours both the community cricket club heroes and professional stars of the season in recognition of an extraordinary year for the sport. The first NatWest Cricket Awards, a combination of the PCA awards and NatWest OSCAs, honours both the community cricket club heroes and professional stars of the season in one event to celebrate the game from the ground up in recognition of an extraordinary year for the sport

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