Stuart Broad says his sights are firmly set on December’s first Ashes Test as he recovers from a calf injury which has kept him sidelined since August.

The Nottinghamshire bowler was last week named in the 17-man touring party to Australia, alongside Green and Gold opener Haseeb Hameed. Amidst the ongoing discussions regarding covid protocols, the seamer has fixed his attention on the controllables. 

“We need our sole focus to be exceptional for Brisbane,” Broad said.

“The Gabba holds the key to the series, because they've got a good record there. Admittedly they lost to India, but we need to start the series well, and make sure that we're 100% on the money at Brisbane.

“We can put this Australia team under pressure on the field, and off the field, if we do our job really well to start. We'll be very well prepared for that.”

Broad returned to training two weeks ago and credited the ECB for the work currently being done to get him back to full fitness, albeit ensuring he doesn’t push too hard, too soon is a key priority. 

“The rehab team at the ECB have been great, and got me back feeling really strong and fit,” he said.

“I knew it was a bad calf tear but it was a clean one. It took at least two weeks to be able to put any sort of weight through my foot.

“My positive is that this has allowed me to have a training period where I'm not constantly thinking 'I've got to bowl in three days' time'. I can actually train, and adapt my body really well.

“I'm not going to bowl at a batter until we land in Australia, because I can't control my competitive instincts,” he added. 

“If I get whacked through the covers, I might try a bit hard and put myself in some sort of danger, so I'm just going to control that until early November, or whenever we get out of quarantine, and then build up for Brisbane.”

Nottinghamshire and England supporters alike are eagerly anticipating the resumption of Broad's rivalry with Australian opener David Warner, after the former dismissed the left-hander seven times in the 2019 Ashes series. 

However, Broad maintains that whilst that battle will be crucial, the sparsity of First-Class cricket played by either side in the lead up to the Tests will make for a riveting spectacle across the board.

What’s more, he believes the loss of English quicks Jofra Archer and Olly Stone can be mitigated if the incumbent pace contingent can substitute pace for accuracy. 

“As an opening bowler you're always targeting the opening batters and the top four, and Warner is a key part of that in Australia,” said Broad.

“But it's going to be a fascinating series, in the fact that no-one's really played any cricket. I don't see how anyone will be going into it in great form, so that means that, as a bowler, we should be really positive about exposing weaknesses if we're relentless.

“We often talk in England about express pace, but that's not what I'm's about relentlessness with the ball, being McGrath-like … not bowling bad balls and releasing the pressure.

“Kyle Abbott and [Vernon] Philander have brilliant records there by bringing the stumps into play, and as a whole bowling unit, repeating it and repeating it for long periods of time. That's how you get success in Australia.

“It's no good saying we're going to blast everyone out, because realistically we've only got Mark Wood who bowls over 90 miles an hour. 

“So, we have to use what's in our armoury and that is now world class relentlessness from guys who move the ball consistently. Both teams have strengths and weaknesses, and our job as the bowling unit is to stare at the Australian weaknesses.”

Ashes Schedule

First Test: 8-12 December - Gabba, Brisbane (00:00 GMT)

Second Test: 16-20 December - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (d/n - 04:00 GMT)

Third Test: 26-30 December - MCG, Melbourne (23:30 GMT, 25 December)

Fourth Test: 5-9 January - SCG, Sydney (23:30 GMT, 4 January)

Fifth Test: 14-18 January - Optus Stadium, Perth (02:30 GMT)