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England vs West Indies: Stuart Broad approaches sports psychologist to prepare for Tests without fans

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International cricket is set to resume next month with England hosting West Indies in a three Test Wisden Trophy, beginning in Southampton from 8 July in front of empty stands.

The absence of fans in the stadiums once cricket resumes have made Stuart Broad anxious and concerned which could have an effect on his bowling.

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Thus, the England fast bowler has reached out to team psychologist David Young to help him mentally prepare for the new reality. 

“The games will feel a bit different with no crowds but I think cricket is in a slightly different position to sports like football and rugby,” Stuart Broad said on Sunday. 

“Our domestic game in red ball cricket, a lot of the time we play in front of smaller crowds, so we are not relying on the atmosphere or the crowds to drive us forward.”

Mental test for the players

Broad, admits it will be a “mental test” to bring out the emotions one gets when a full-throated crowd is backing you up.

“International cricket certainly will be more of a mental test to make sure each player is right up for the battle.

In such unusual circumstances amid the crisis, Broad wanted to make sure he was in the right frame of mind to face a West Indies team, who beat England when they last met in a Test series in 2019. 

“I’m very aware of that, I’ve already spoken to our sport psychologist about creating a mindset around making sure I can get my emotions up to where they need to be for me to perform at my best,” he stated.

Stuart Broad also revealed the advice his mother gave him, which made him rethink of the time when as a 12-year-old kid all he wanted to do was play cricket anywhere he could.

Milestone on the roll – 500 Test wickets

Broad, who has 485 wickets from 138 Tests, says he may be involved in more one-on-one battle with the opposition players to bring the best out of him as a cricketer.

“I know that I perform at my best as a player under pressure, when the game is at its most exciting, when the game needs changing.”

There are milestones on the horizon – 500 Test wickets and potentially one final Ashes tour, in 2021-22 – but Stuart Broad knows unless he continues to prove his worth this summer, there are no guarantees of a next. Crowd or no crowd, competing and winning will always be the motivation.

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