Stuart Broad insists England must rekindle the nation's love for cricket during the looming Ashes summer by producing the wins that will draw attention away from recent controversies.
A turbulent week has seen newly-appointed director of cricket Andrew Strauss receive heavy criticism for ruling out an international return for Kevin Pietersen just three days before Broad himself captured the headlines.
Broad missed a sponsor's event on Thursday morning and a report subsequently stated that he had not returned to his hotel until 7am following a lengthy drinking session with former team-mate Matt Prior.
The 28-year-old insists the incident has been blown out of proportion and offers a migraine as explanation for his absence, but accepts it is time for England to recapture hearts and minds starting with the forthcoming two-Test series against New Zealand.
"I don't want to go into massive detail about it but I think it was probably not as bad as it was portrayed. And I woke up with a migraine," Broad said.
"I wasn't on England duty for the ECB but I did apologise for putting them in that position because after the week they've had with (Andrew) Strauss and Pietersen, it was probably not what they needed.
"I feel like now is the time as a team that we need to go 'cricket, cricket, cricket' because when we do that, that is generally when we get some good results.
"We've got to win games. Sport is that sort of world. If you're losing you deserve to get that sort of crap. If you're winning you generally get less crap and people enjoy watching you more.
"As players all we can do is take our catches, take our wickets and score runs. And if we win games, people will want to watch us.
"It's vital to win this series against New Zealand. It's a good opportunity going into the first Test for us to concentrate on the actual cricket, how we are going to up our game, get results and how we are going to up our love for cricket as a country."
Strauss cited a "massive trust issue" as the reason for blocking Pietersen's return to the team and his decision provoked an angry response from England's leading run scorer in all formats of the game.
Broad is satisfied with Strauss' judgement and insists neither he nor his fellow senior players were asked for their views on the matter by their former captain.
"As a player underneath Strauss you have to back the selectors and Strauss for making the decision," Broad said.
"Only time can tell if that was the right decision. If we lose the Ashes, there will be a lot of pressure. We can only wait and see.
"The biggest point is that players don't have a choice over who they're playing with.
"Selectors do a lot of investigation into the players they want around the team. They put a lot of time into developing that.
"I've genuinely not spoken to anyone above me or to anyone in the team about Kevin.
"It doesn't hurt me or anything like that, but when people try to put big divides between players and Kevin.....
"We shared the changing room for eight/nine years. He's helped me from time to time, we've never raised voices against each other. It's perceived to be worse than it is between the players."
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