Stuart Broad – A Bowler Made Of Rare Substance

An Englishman with an Australian attitude, always ready to defy the odds, taking up the challenges and never hesitant to give opposition back, the Junior Broad stands on the cusp of being only second Englishman to beat the 400 Wicket milestone.

Stuart Broad

After England lost the Ashes 0-4, there is a hue and cry about the structure of English Cricket as also pointed by George Dobell in his latest article. Well, the structure of English cricket is good or bad remains debatable, but one thing is for sure that England’s senior players have failed to meet expectations and were bossed down by the Australian team determined to win back Ashes on home soil. Stuart Broad; the lanky pacer is also had a disappointing tour picking only 11 wickets at 47.52. 

One of the major reasons behind England’s dismal Ashes campaign was the failure of Broad. After this disastrous campaign, a lot of people have been questioning and tagging him being at the end of the career. However, anyone who knows Broad is also well aware of his made in Australia attitude. He will surely bounce back, and there can never be two different thoughts about this especially when he is on the verge of 400 wicket milestone.

Broad inherited the sports culture from his parents. His father Chris Broad has been a famous international cricketer while mother served as head of sport at Brooke Priory, a preparatory school in Oakham. The young man first developed his love of cricket there alongside Mark Collier, son of David, the ECB’s chief executive. The two boys would eventually form an opening bowling partnership for the Oakham XI.

Broad was also trained by Frank Hayes and David Steel, they might be old school but are highly committed towards their work, and this is what they taught Broad. The rich sporting culture which he inherited from these people around helped him a lot. This is the reason why the talented bowler says that he had been taught to set the bars high since childhood.

However, his feisty attitude seems to be of an Australian Cricketer rather than an English Cricketer. That has been the case since he played for Hoppers Crossing in Australia at the age of 17. There was a latent tough guy in him – his heroes were Martin Johnson, and Stuart Pearce, tough guys of rugby union and football – and that stint in Australia brought it to the surface.

In 2005, he disappointed Chris Rogers, his captain at Leicestershire in 2005 and against whom he played in 2006 for Northamptonshire. He could barely believe the difference.

“I remember we lost a game against Yorkshire at Scarborough and he didn’t bowl very well. Then he went from being a boy to leading the attack. The stride he took in one year, you just don’t see that. The kind of Character Broad came to the fore in a domestic T-20 game on August 12, 2006, when he ran into Essex’s captain Ronnie Irani. Irani had been one of the players of the tournament, smashing the new ball to all parts, and he tried to launch a preemptive strike by telling Broad he was “as big an idiot as your dad was”, Roger said.

Broad dismissed Irani and only 16 Days later; he made his England debut. In 2006, when he received the Young Cricketer Award by the Cricket Writers Club, it was the sign of the things to come. The Award is considered to be a big one as players winning it have excellent chances of playing International cricket for England.

Till 2006, winners of this award has 1876 test and 1005 caps behind them. Some of the significant winners of this award include Alistair Cook, James Anderson, Andrew Flintoff, Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara.

In 2007, Broad made his Test debut against Sri Lanka, but three months before that he was smashed to the pulp by Yuvraj Singh in inaugural T-20, eking out 6 sixes off 6 balls. For any ordinary 21-year-old cricketer that might have been a big blow but Broad is made up of steel.

Only 6 months after, he formed the partnership with Jimmy Anderson which started a new era in the history of English Cricket called Anderson-Broad Era.

This March, it will be exactly 10 years since they came together to become most successful pace bowling pair in the history of the game which has taken 776 wickets in 102 tests. IUnfortunately, such a huge achievement went unnoticed due to England’s crushing series defeat. The duo surpassed some of the finest pairs like Walsh-Ambrose, Wasim-Waqar, McGrath-Gillespie during their journey.

It would have been perfect for Stuart Broad to pick his 400th Wicket in a country where he started to rise as a teenager.

While Broad has a batting average of only 21 in Test cricket but its also true that he has hardly justified the talent he posses. Impressed with his batting skills Sir Geoff Boycott once said “He’s a wonderful player. There’s a little bit of Sobers in him,”.

Broad has given occasional glimpses of his talent with the bat. His 67 against S.Africa in 2008 or his 169 against Pakistan in 2010 at Lords are some of his moments with the willow.

Broad has always been a tough nut to crack and is mentally tough, otherwise, how would a 21-year-old sportsman cope after being slaughtered for 6 sixes in an over. But its Broad’s speciality, he has always loved to defy the odds. A Child who always wanted to achieve, to aim as high as he could, has written his name on top of the charts in International Cricket, will he get his due?


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