sport

Focus is on T20 wins - Broad

Stuart Broad will not fret over his own form and fitness when he has a primary job to do as England's returning Twenty20 captain.

Broad could be forgiven for nagging doubts about his individual well-being, having ended 2012 with a heel injury and surplus to Test requirements in spin-dominated India after drawing a blank in successive matches.

The England collective is his sole concern, though, as he prepares for next week's two Twenty20 warm-ups and then to lead his country in three internationals against New Zealand.

Pressed, inevitably perhaps, about his physical condition and his lack of wickets on the famously successful Test tour of India, the 26-year-old seamer pronounced no false assurances on the former and remains untroubled as yet by the latter.

With no outdoor bowling under his belt in snowy England, Broad admits he is "unsure" how his bruised heel, twice scanned before a period of rest was prescribed, will respond to the pounding it must take from his 6ft 7in delivery in full flow.

As for his standing as a first-choice regular, as he has almost always been in all formats for the past five years, Broad is convinced that hard work and ability will continue to work in his favour.

He has little time for the suggestion that, at the start of an Ashes-laden 12 months, the overriding motivation here must be to win back that Test spot he lost in Kolkata.

"The main goal for this tour is to win games of cricket," he said, starting with the resumption of Twenty20 responsibilities after injury forced him out of the drawn series in India last month.

"I'm not really bothered about what I do personally. You always judge a tour, and if it's a success, on how the team go and whether you win games.

"That will start in the Twenty20 and one-day format, and that's all I've focused on.

"What happens in March and later on than that ... you have to take each game and day as it comes, because we know in cricket you can maybe not take a wicket for a couple of games and then you get four or five and the ball's rolling again."

There were frustrations, of course, for Broad in India but no resentment at being left out of the team and watching his team-mates make history instead.

He said: "It wasn't hard at all. That's part of being in a team sport.

"You board the flight, 15 or 16 of you to go and try to win games on that tour, and you get as good a satisfaction being a part of a (winning) changing room.

"That's what's great about this England changing room ... whether you take the field, or you're part of the touring party, you're made to feel part of the group and part of the win.

"Being on the tour is a huge honour. Everyone is fighting to play, but everyone is fighting to win as well and we did brilliantly to come away with a Test victory from India."

He knows as well exactly how to regain his former position.

"I'm quite relaxed, and I know that if I bowl well and hang in there and do the right things in training, then wickets come your way," Broad said.

"I had a really good start, first half of the year, and was the leading seamer in the world.

"Then I went three innings without taking a wicket in India and lost my place.

"That happens and it was probably a good decision, looking back, to leave me out.

"Finny [Steven Finn] came in and bowled really nicely. Then I picked up that little injury before the final Test match.

"Personally, the tour didn't go ideally to plan. But we won the Test series and left happy."

Broad will be a lot happier nonetheless once he knows for sure his heel will give him no further trouble.

"When you've not played cricket for five or six weeks, I suppose you go into a game a little bit unsure," he said.

"I'm fit. I just need to test out the impact of it.

"But we've got well over a week until the first Twenty20 game and that should be plenty to get it right."

England's last visit to New Zealand proved to be a breakthrough tour for Broad back in 2008.

It will be a priceless second trip if he can restate his world-class credentials, and kickstart a potentially career-defining 12 months.

He will begin with respect but no fear for opponents many expect England to master, on the back of their 3-2 one-day international series defeat in India under new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles.

"We know the dangers New Zealand pose," said Broad.

"Any team that has Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor in their limited-overs teams are strong - these boys can smash it miles.

"We know we'll have to be at the top of our game."