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Stuart Broad urges England to win back cricket fans

By Duncan Bech

Stuart Broad insists England must rekindle the nation's love for cricket during the looming Ashes summer by producing the wins that will draw attention away from recent controversies.

A turbulent week has seen newly-appointed director of cricket Andrew Strauss receive heavy criticism for ruling out a return for Kevin Pietersen just three days before Broad himself captured the headlines.

Broad missed a sponsor's event on Thursday morning and a report subsequently stated that he had not returned to his hotel until 7.00am following a lengthy drinking session with former team-mate Matt Prior.

The 28-year-old insists the incident has been blown out of proportion and offers a migraine as explanation for his absence, but accepts it is time for England to recapture hearts and minds starting with the forthcoming two-Test series against New Zealand.

"I feel like now is the time as a team that we need to go 'cricket, cricket, cricket' because when we do that, that is generally when get some good results," said Broad.

"We've got to win games. Sport is that sort of world. If you're losing you deserve to get that sort of rubbish. If you're winning you generally get less and people enjoy watching you more.

"As players all we can do is take our catches, take our wickets and score runs. And if we win games, people will want to watch us.

"It's vital to win this series against New Zealand. It's a good opportunity."

Strauss cited a "massive trust issue" as the reason for blocking Pietersen's return.

"As a player underneath Strauss you have to back the selectors and Strauss for making the decision," Broad said.

"Only time will tell if that was the right decision. If we lose the Ashes, there will be a lot of pressure. We can only wait and see.

"Kevin and I shared the changing room for nine years. He's helped me from time to time, we've never raised our voices against each other.

"It's perceived to be worse than it is between the players."

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