Broad still waiting to test heel

York Press: Stuart Broad believes he is fit enough to make a return for England Stuart Broad believes he is fit enough to make a return for England

Stuart Broad will remain "unsure" about how his bruised left heel can stand up to the rigours of bowling until he has tested it in the first match of England's tour of New Zealand.

England's Twenty20 captain had to leave the Test tour of India before Christmas as he struggled with the injury. Broad is approaching full fitness but admits he cannot be 100% certain until he has had some match action. That is scheduled to come next Monday, in the first of two Twenty20 warm-up fixtures against a New Zealand XI in Whangarei.

At his first press conference of the tour, the 26-year-old seamer was inevitably quizzed on the state of the injury which interrupted his part in England's famously successful Test trip to India. "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 have done quite a lot of treadmill running, and a lot of spinning, so I'm fit. I just need to test out the impact of it. But we've got well over a week till the first Twenty20 game, and that should be plenty to get it right."

The winter weather in England ruled out any outdoor fitness work, and there was a further snag when Broad was unable to fly to India as scheduled for the second half of the ODI series.

But he said: "I feel fit. I feel good. With the snow back home, it's been a bit tricky to really test anything. I've not done any outdoor running, because it's been a bit hazardous.

"It was a bit disappointing to not be able to get out to India and do some outdoor bowling. But we've still got plenty of time for me to be able to do some work here leading into the warm-up games and the first Twenty20. I'm really looking forward to getting going, and I'm excited to be here."

As for England's opponents, 2-0 losers of a Test series in South Africa but then victorious in an ODI series there, Broad - about to start a partnership alongside England's new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles - will be respectful but not fearful.

"Their Test performances are not something we need to look at," he continued. "We've got to start in Twenty20 and one-day cricket, and we know New Zealand have just beaten South Africa in the one-day format. Having played quite a lot of Twenty20 cricket against them, we know they're very dangerous.

"We've got two weeks solid of Twenty20 cricket, and it's going to be a tough battle. We know New Zealand have got some fantastic Twenty20 players."

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