Stuart Broad revels in bowling reinvention; aims jibe at critics
Stuart Broad has believes he has a lot left in the tank for the longer format, and launched a bristling riposte to critics who suggested his time as an automatic selection in England’s bowling attack could be coming to an end.
The 33-year-old had been besieged by a torrent of speculation that his place spearheading England’s seam attack could be brought to an end going into the 2019 Ashes, with some even suggesting that he might not make the starting XI for the first Test at Edgbaston.
In characteristic fashion, however, Broad answered his critics by finishing the series as England’s highest wicket taker (23) at an average of 26.65 while bowling at a noticeably fuller length throughout.
With long-time opening partner Jimmy Anderson crocked with a nagging calf injury just four overs into the first Test, the onus was on Broad to deliver, and deliver he did.
Only Australia’s marathon man Pat Cummins took more scalps in the series, and Broad has divulged that he thrived on the extra responsibility and took special pleasure in getting the upper hand over David Warner after previous battles had gone the combative Australian’s way..
“I’ve been very pleased with how it has gone this summer. I’ve gone from being talked about as a diminishing cricketer being eased out to a reinvented cricketer with more to offer,” said Broad.
“At 33 years old, that is a good place to be. All the hard work has been worth it. Fate allowed me to have the time during the winter to work on things.
“We talk about setting the tone with the new ball and I felt that this has been my best summer for a long time in terms of doing that with the new ball. I felt a responsibility to lead that first 10 overs and I’ve had great energy running in.”
David Warner fell victim to Broad’s precision bowling on no fewer than seven occasions – tying the record for dismissals to the same bowler in a five-match series.
Broad gets Warner for the seventh time this series!
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 15, 2019
“I had an added responsibility to try and get their big players out and that’s why I did a lot of planning on David Warner,” he said.
“I never dreamt that I would have the success against him that I’ve had. But of course that is just in this series. If we put our numbers together over the course of our careers, with how much we have played against each other, I think they would be quite even.
“He has outdone me in many a series, but this time it went my way.”
Despite Broad’s best efforts, Australia retained the urn on the back of a 2-2 series draw thanks in large part to the batting masterclass put on by Steve Smith.
Broad was full of admiration for the man who averaged a remarkable 110.57 over the course of the series.
“They had one batsman who has been a 15 out of 10 and we’ve not had that, which has been a huge difference.
“We would have really liked to win the series but if we sit down in a week’s time without the emotion, it is probably the right result.”
With the next Ashes series over two years away, some have questioned whether Broad’s continued selection is wise given the seamer will be 35 year of age upon the start of the series, but Broad gave no hint that he’d be walking away from the red-ball game as he reflected on a spectacular summer for the nation’s cricket teams.
“I need a few weeks to actually sit back and reflect on what’s happened, but from the moment I pulled an England shirt on it’s been amazing, said Broad.
“I’m still taking it all in. It’s my first Test series either way, but if all Test cricket is like this it’s going to be very exciting.
“I guess the World Cup (was the highlight) but Test cricket and one-day are two different feelings and both of them are very special to me.”
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