Stuart Broad: The epitome of consistency reaches 501*

Stuart Broad became only the second Englishman, seventh overall to pick 500 Test wickets
Courtesy: ESPNCricInfo

England pacer Stuart Broad joined his name to an elite list constituting seven of world’s best bowlers of all times. The right hander, with the wicket of Kraig Brathwaite on the fifth day of the Third Test against West Indies at Manchester, became only the seventh bowler in the world to pick 500 Test wickets. Though Broad is the slowest to reach the landmark (140 Tests), he along with the only other Englishman James Anderson (589 wickets), have revolutionized England cricket in the past decade.

Interestingly, one of Broad’s first introductions saw him on the receiving end of an absolute carnage. Yuvraj Singh hammered Broad for six massive sixes in an over in the inaugural World T20 2007. The unfortunate 21-year old then went on to make his Test debut later that year and hasn’t looked back since. Broady as he’s fondly called by his teammates, has had ups and downs throughout his career, especially when he was dropped from the limited-overs squad, but rarely lost his place in the country’s Test side. Broad enjoys a remarkable record of appearing in 51 consecutive Test matches for England at home (2012-2020).

Performance this Series:

England vs West Indies
Courtesy: My Khel

Broad ended the streak when he was dropped from the squad for the First Test of the series against West Indies with England opting to go for the trio of Anderson, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer. He had even expressed his frustration towards the same, but returned to play the following two Tests. Not only did he play a match-winning role in either matches but he also left a bold statement indicating what is yet to come. The speedster was as quick, accurate and disciplined as ever. He finished the series with a whooping 16 wickets in 2 matches and was rightly adjudged the Man of the Series. He also picked up a 10-wicket haul in the last Test enroute to his 500th Test wicket.

Stuart Broad came from a cricketing background. His father Chris Broad played for England is now also an ICC Match Referee. Incidentally Chris, refereeing in this match, also had the pleasure of watching his son reach a milestone from the dressing room. He even celebrated it with an enthusiastic thumbs-up. After-all he is only the second most known Broad in the family.

Stuart Broad: The Journey

Stuart Broad made his Test debut at Colombo SSC in December 2007 and has been a regular feature since. From his action to his discipline, Broad has tremendously improved in each and every department. He developed a knack of picking wickets and had the ability to consistently hit his targets. With James Anderson for company, the duo troubled oppositions with the new ball like none else. Needless to say, the said difficult-to-conquer English home territory is a terror in force mainly because of two of it’s most dedicated and feared servants.

It is always tough for a fast bowler to survive for so long in Test cricket. However, Broad is highly talked about by his seniors and the veterans of the game. “When I gave Stuart his cap on his Test debut, he already had a fine cricket brain. He was a player who liked to plan his spells, set his own fields.” However, even Vaughan himself was pleasantly shocked to see Broad pack up 500 wickets in his kitty.

Best of Stuart Broad: Trent Bridge 2015

One of Broad’s finest Test performances came in The Ashes of 2015. Playing at Trent Bridge, Broad treated his home crowd with a delightful spell of bowling. He picked up 8 wickets giving away only 15 runs, strangling the Aussies with a firm grapplehold. His spell was only the second best by a fast-bowler ever in Tests. It was also the best bowling performance in the 138-year old Ashes history. The day certainly instilled a sense of fear amongst his opponents. David Warner, one of Broad’s favorite bunnies, once cheekily said, “It would be nice if I was to play there again and he (Broad) was not playing.”

Out of his 501 wickets, 118 has come against Australia (an Ashes record) and 66 against New Zealand (a bilateral record). The pacer has always loved challenges and has strived to succeed in even the toughest conditions. His wicket distribution includes 352 against the right-handers and 149 against the left-handers with a skewed average of 25.8 vs 32.9. Broad has continuously reinvented himself according to the changing nature of the game, an open secret to his consistent performances.

What Future Holds?

Stuart Broad has come in a long way in his career. He has attained unparalleled success and still has got ample cricket left in him. It would be interesting to see if Broad manages to overtake Anderson in terms of wickets. Having said, the cricketing brain is expected to at least continue creating miracles one after the other. One also believes the Nottingham-lad also has it in him to captain England, if needed.

England are slated to begin their next Test tour against Pakistan next month. One might as well expect Stuart Broad to turn on the heat in those empty stands once again.


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