Bell: Broad will cope with Ashes banter

England

England batsman Ian Bell says much-maligned fast bowler Stuart Broad will be able to handle the sledging and jeering he's bound to get during the Ashes in Australia, and the England players are actually looking forward to the banter.

England batsman Ian Bell says much-maligned fast bowler Stuart Broad will be able to handle the sledging and jeering he's bound to get during the Ashes in Australia, and the England players are actually looking forward to the banter.

Broad became persona non grata in Oz after refusing to walk during the first Ashes Test in England, and the game ended up in his side's favour by a narrow margin. Broad this week refused to apologise for not walking, saying England may well have lost if he had.

Bell, who was the batting star of the series with three centuries, said the England players were anticipating getting some verbal from the home fans, and that the competitive atmosphere made it an intriguing encounter.

Bell said on <i>Sky Sports News</i>: "I think we're all going to get a little bit of stick over here. I don't think, as an Englishman you're going to get too much sympathy.

"I don't think he's too worried about any of that. We have to move forward. We all fully expect a real competitive series, and a great atmosphere at the grounds between both teams. Both sets of supporters will be excited. That's what you play cricket for.

"As an Englishman, it's the best tour you can come on. It's the most intense cricket, the toughest cricket you can play, so that's what we're really excited about."

As for Broad's controversy, which resulted in thousands of column inches in the following weeks, Bell hoped the actual cricket would be enough to keep people focused, and that controversy didn't again become the central point.

He added: "I certainly hope it (Broad's non-walk) is not a focus. I hope the cricket is the massive focus in a really good series. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone has the right to do what they want to do.

"If they want to wait for the umpire to make the decision, you're in your rights to do that. I certainly hope this series is all about the cricket – not about the other situations that happen.

"I think we've all probably at certain times been guilty of nicking one and not walking. With the game as it goes, you get rough decisions sometimes and you get away with some. That's the beauty of the game at times – it's swings and roundabouts."

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