England's dismal Ashes tour of Australia was the catalyst for changes in the side which started with the axing of batsman Kevin Pietersen, Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad said on Friday.
Pietersen was released from his England contract after the 5-0 whitewash by Australia and the decision to discard the country's all-time leading run-scorer across all formats of the game came under intense scrutiny. "We do have to make improvements," the 27-year-old Broad told a news conference ahead of England's tour of the Caribbean for three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches against the West Indies. "The decision was taken from guys who were desperate for England to improve in the future, not just in the next four or five months. It was heart-breaking to lose 5-0 and we lost a lot of good men in doing that. It's a winter that was a disaster, but as an England side we have to look forward now. We can't dwell on it now and we must move forward."
England director of cricket Andy Flower stepped down after the Ashes series and South African-born Pietersen was informed of his fate by new England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton and test captain Alastair Cook. "I was aware of discussions towards the end of the Australia tour but I was not deeply involved," Broad said. "The guys that made the decision are very keen for England cricket to move forward, there's no egos involved in making decisions like this."
England travel to the West Indies before the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March. "It's time for the guys in that changing-room to realise they can be match-winners and can step up now," said Broad, who was part of the England side who won Twenty20 World Cup in 2010. "We don't spend a lot of time together as a T20 side, so we've got to make use of these next three weeks. We are going to Bangladesh in three weeks' time with an opportunity to show something different. When you've lost so many games over the last six months, it hurts, so we've just got to get back to winning to be honest."
England's first one-dayer against the West Indies is on Feb. 28 in Antigua.