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‘Reinvented’ Stuart Broad revels in prolific Ashes returns

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Stuart Broad has described himself as a “reinvented cricketer” after piloting England’s pace attack during the Ashes.

He ended as the team’s highest wicket-taker, which helped blunt criticism of his “diminishing” abilities. “I’ve been very pleased with how it has gone this summer,” Broad said. “I’ve gone from being talked about as a diminishing cricketer being eased out, to a reinvented cricketer with more to offer. At 33 years old, that is a good place to be.”

Broad had to shoulder additional load in the series, given the absence of his long-standing new-ball partner James Anderson to injury. The responsibility brought out the best in him, with Broad ending the series with 23 wickets in five games.

It was Broad’s best effort in an Ashes series in seven campaigns, bettering his 22-wicket tally in 2013. In the process, he also reached the milestone of 100 Test wickets against Australia.

“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,” Broad said. “I felt a responsibility to lead that first 10 overs, and I’ve had great energy running in. I felt like the mindset of trying to hit the stumps has really paid off.”

Broad has picked up at least 30 wickets every calendar year since 2011, but has adopted a measured approach in his 30s to manage his workload. Last year, he featured in only one of the three Tests on England’s Sri Lanka’s tour, but admitted the time off helped him fine-tune his game.

“In Sri Lanka, I didn’t play too much, and I was able to work on a new run-up and stuff like my attacking intent which has paid dividends,” he said. “I’ve not been as attacking in my areas, and making batsmen play as much as I have for many years.

A major highlight for Broad over the last two months was his hold over David Warner, dismissing the Australian opener seven times in 10 innings. He has now got the better of Warner 12 times in 23 Tests, the most he has dismissed any batsman.

“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 and how I might get him out before the series started,” he said. “I had to go fuller at him, I had to try and hit his stumps and I had to try and forget about his outside edge.

“The edges would come, but only if I bowled in the right areas consistently rather than searching for the edge of his bat. I never dreamt that I would have the success against him that I’ve had.”

But while he is elated with his individual exploits, there is regret at England’s failure to prevent Australia from retaining the urn. “Of course, I’m distraught not to be lifting the urn at The Oval, and I can’t remember having a feeling like this before, because usually at The Oval we are lifting a trophy,” he said.

“It is certainly the first Ashes series [at home] where I’ve not been spraying champagne at the end, which is a weird feeling.”

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