The ‘Broad’way – Theatrics of seam bowling
As a fan of Indian cricket, the sight of Yuvraj Singh hitting 6 sixes off 6 balls in a single over in 2007 T20 WC is the one that comes to your mind when you hear the name Stuart Broad. No one would have imagined that this young English lad would go on to become one of the greatest seamers ever to grace the Test cricket. This week he became the 4th seamer and 7th bowler overall to enter the 500-wickets club in Test cricket. It has been a long journey filled with high and lows and still going strong. He is a second-generation cricketer with his father Chris Broad representing England previously and is now serving as a cricket official.
Pic Credits: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Broad has undergone many changes regarding his bowling technique throughout his career. But the one never-changing thing about him is the visual of him celebrating the dismissal way before the umpire gives his nod for the lbw decisions. It shows the confidence he has in his judgment and the astute cricketer he is. Initially, he started as an opening batsman following his dad’s footsteps but luckily for England, he took the decision to become a fast bowler, and the rest is history.
As an English player, he is always charged up in the Ashes contest and delivers his best. His best-ever bowling performance came during the 2015 Ashes series at Trent Bridge. He destroyed the Aussie batting order in a single spell and ended up with the bowling figures of 9.3-5-15-8. He equaled the record for the fastest 5 wicket haul ever in Tests that day (5 wickets in 19 deliveries). He is also known for turning the games upside down by picking up 5 wicket hauls in a single spell on several instances in his career.
He is the only English player to take two hat tricks in Test cricket and 4th overall in the Test format. He has always been a bowler picking up the ‘big fish’ in the opponent team such as Warner, Smith, Virat, Clarke, Taylor, AB, etc. In the 2019 Ashes series, Broad made Warner his bunny dismissing him 7 times – the joint highest for any batsman to be dismissed by the same bowler in a series. He has accomplished the record of taking more than 50 wickets in a calendar year twice (62 in 2013 & 56 in 2015).
Though Broad enjoyed much of his success in the home conditions, he fared well in the overseas conditions as well. He proved to be the go-to-bowler for his captain irrespective of the conditions on offer and proved to be quite successful. These are his numbers in the Test format at home and away:
He has played some lusty knocks with the bat as well contributing to his team’s victory. He shares the highest 8th wicket partnership for England (332 runs) with Jonathan Trott against Pakistan at the Lord’s in 2010. In the recently concluded Test match against the West Indies, he scored the third-fastest 50 for England in Test cricket and it was quite a significant achievement for a bowler.
He along with his partner-in-crime James Anderson became the nightmare for the opposition batsmen attacking them relentlessly from both ends. They have taken 894 scalps playing together in 117 Test matches They typically resemble the famous British duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson who enjoy each other’s company and have each other’s back. The fast bowling duo of Broady and Jimmy can interchange those roles as and when required and play accordingly. No batting technique in this world is a mystery to them as they end up exquisitely solving them. They also share the same victim for their respective 500th wicket – Kraigg Brathwaite. How magical it is!!
Broad did not enjoy much success in the limited-overs format, compared to the Tests. Though he has some decent numbers in the limited-overs, Test cricket is his forte and he has achieved everything that a fast bowling seamer could have. Be it the long-enduring spells with the new ball or old ball, match-winning 5 wicket or 10 wicket hauls, the hat tricks, long-tail partnerships with the bat, and even some crackling innings then and there. Broad has done everything that has been asked of him and he is doing them consistently.
He is never short of words and speaks out his mind. Recently after he was dropped in the first Test, he vented out his frustrations in the press conference. Then he provided match-winning performances in the next two Tests and bagged the Man of the Series award. This proves why he is a world-class bowler who is not done yet and willing to contribute to his side in all ways that he can.
At 34 years of age, he has been producing some of his best performances of late and is charged up to carry on this for a much longer period going forward. He was one of the pillars of the English Test side when they were atop the ICC Test Rankings. He is strongly motivated in getting the team back to the summit once again and in the course, proving that age is just a number. We are eagerly waiting to get swayed by more such mesmerizing performances from the artist Broady!
About the Author
The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.