Stuart Broad has revealed he took a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s book when it came to dealing with abuse from Australian fans during England’s last Ashes tour.
Broad arrived in Australia four years and immediately became a target for the fans after he refused to walk during the Trent Bridge Test the summer before.
And, the Brisbane Courier even went so far as to refer to him as ‘the 27-year-old medium-pace bowler’ for the duration of the tour, with the home fans singling him out for abuse.
The series as a whole was one to forget for England, as they were whitewashed by the home side, but Broad is one of the few who can claim to have made a positive impact on the team after taking 21 wickets in five matches.
And, he says that reading the autobiography of legendary Manchester United manager Ferguson gave him a different perspective on being a target for the home support.
“The abuse you get from crowds is never personal abuse,” he said. “I think as a player you have to smile and take that as relatively tongue-in-cheek.
“I was fortunate that last time we were there, I’d just read Alex Ferguson’s autobiography and he said that when Patrick Vieira came to Old Trafford, they booed him and abused him but that was a sign of respect for the player.
“Whether that is what the Australians were doing for me, I’m not sure, but I took it that way so it was a lot easier for me to deal with.
“I felt I actually had a really great rapport with the Australian public towards the end.
“They gave me heaps, I gave my best back and the thing about Australians and Australian sport is that they’re desperate to win but they respect you if you give everything and you play your sport with your heart and passion, as well as your skill.
“That is always how I’ve tried to play my cricket, so that’s why I was able to smile and laugh with the Australian public.”
England have recently flown out to Australia for the Ashes that start later this month, with few holding high hopes for their chances, but Broad says they shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
“It is a pretty fearless group we are taking over and some awesome players who play a type of cricket that will suit Australian conditions in my opinion.”
He added: “It is a tour that you have to go and embrace.
“If you do that then generally you can relax and play good cricket.”