England pace bowler Stuart Broad has spoken to a sports psychologist to prepare for Test cricket’s return behind closed doors.
England start a three-Test series against the West Indies in Southampton on July 8, but fans will be absent due to the coronavirus.
Broad thrives on the tension of Test battles and, while he doesn’t think it will be impossible to shine in the silence of empty stadiums, he opted to get expert advice ahead of the series.
“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,” 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.
“International cricket certainly will be more of a mental test to make sure each player is right up for the battle.
“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.”
In such unusual circumstances amid the health 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.
“It is almost like creating a bubble around yourself as an individual and finding what little things give you that competitive edge,” he said.
“It is going to be a different challenge for everybody, there will be times when the mind might drift further than it would in a normal Test match but that is where we have got to be so strong as individuals to not let that happen…
“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.”