Stuart Broad declared that his final professional encounter would be the fifth Test of the Ashes series.
Broad decided “around 8.30 pm” on Friday evening, the second day of the Test at The Oval, and notified his long-standing teammates James Anderson and Joe Root of his decision before play on Saturday morning, reportedly while battling back tears.
He will retire as the fifth-highest wicket-taker in Test history and the second-highest wicket-taker among seam bowlers, trailing only his teammate Anderson, after reaching 600 wickets in the Old Trafford Test last week.
After the third day of play, Broad told Sky Sports, “It’s been a tremendous honor to wear the Nottinghamshire and England badges as much as I have.”
“I am as enthusiastic about cricket as I have ever been.” Participating in this series has been a pleasure, and I’ve always desired to reach the pinnacle. This feels like one of the most pleasant and engaging series I’ve ever participated in.”
Broad has the opportunity to add to his current tally of 602 wickets when England begins their fourth innings at The Oval, where they will attempt to level the Ashes series at 2-2. Broad could also add to his runs total of 3656 after he and Anderson completed the third day unbeaten in their tenth-wicket partnership.
However, his career will forever be associated with Ashes cricket. Since his first series against Australia in 2009, he has played in every home Ashes Test, amassing 104 wickets at an average of 26.56 in 25 Tests. During this series, he also surpassed Ian Botham’s long-standing record for Test wickets against Australia, with a current total of 151.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, a few weeks,” he added. “England vs. Australia has always been the pinnacle for me – I have loved the battles with Australia that have come my way and the team’s way, I have a love affair with the Ashes, and I think I wanted my last bat and bowl to be in Ashes cricket,” I told Stokesy [Ben Stokes] last night and the changing room this morning.
It felt like the right time. I didn’t want friends or Nottinghamshire teammates to see things that might come out, so I prefer to say it now and give it my best shot for the last Australia innings. I have given it considerable thought, and up until 8 pm last night, I was on the fence.
Since I went to Stokesy’s room and told him, I’ve felt incredibly pleased and satisfied with everything I’ve accomplished.”
Two months after his 20th birthday, in August 2006, Broad made his England debut in a Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Cardiff.
The following winter, he played the first 167 Tests against Sri Lanka at the SSC in Colombo.
His career began in earnest in Wellington the following March, when he and James Anderson were selected for the second Test against New Zealand in place of the Ashes-winning duo Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard and were instrumental in turning around a 2-1 series deficit.
“I am proud to have 150 Test wickets against the Australians, putting me in the same category as Warnie and Glenn.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed bowling against Australia, except for Mitchell Johnson’s performance in Brisbane.
Broad’s breakthrough performance occurred at the venue, where he will now make his final appearance.
With the 2009 Ashes tied 1-1 heading into the fifth Test at The Oval and England feeling the strain after an innings loss in the previous Test at Headingley, Broad unleashed the first of his career-defining rampaging periods.
Despite being the fifth bowler used by Andrew Strauss in Australia’s first innings, Stuart Broad dismissed Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, and Brad Haddin in rapid succession with the sixth delivery of his spell.
Australia’s innings collapsed from 73 for 0 to 133 for eight by the end of his period, and by the time England clinched victory on the final afternoon, his place in Ashes lore was cemented.
At Chester-le-Street in 2013, he returned the single-spell figures of 9.3-1-22-6 to put the series out of Australia’s reach before his defining performance two years later at Trent Bridge, where he replaced the incredible first-day figures of 8 for 15 in 9.3 overs to humiliate Australia for 60.
Between these campaigns, his performance on the 2013-14 Ashes opening day at Brisbane best exemplified his combative temperament.
The local Courier-Mail newspaper boycotted his name to protest his decision to stand his ground for a catch during England’s fraught victory at Trent Bridge the previous summer.
Broad rose above the din and the crowd’s jeers to return five wickets on the first day, carrying a copy of the newspaper into his press conference.
As it transpired, Mitchell Johnson outperformed him in the exact match to build up a 5-0 Ashes rout, but Broad’s character had passed a stern test of resolve.
“From a very young age, I was enamored with [Ashes cricket],” he said. “As a player, I have a strong reputation against Australia in England.
Ultimately, Australia’s competitiveness in cricket brings out the best in me. I adore the vitality that the audience brings to the event.
I know that my emotions must be in the stratosphere to be a successful bowler. It does make me proud to have 150 Test wickets against the Australians, to be in the same category as Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who both have more.
I’ve enjoyed every instance of bowling against Australia, except Mitchell Johnson’s performance in Brisbane.
“Mr. Jimmy will certainly continue. After this series, he will have a bit of a vacation before embarking on a tour of India, where he has an outstanding reputation. It never felt natural for us to travel together…”
Broad began his England career as a left-handed opener, and his back-foot cover drive was a particular strength due to his height. Like his father, Chris, whose three centuries in the 1986-87 Ashes were the defining factor in England’s famous away win.
Broad etched his name into the batting honors boards at Lord’s in 2010 with a career-high 169 against Pakistan (in a match better known for the match-fixing scandal).
However, a vicious strike to the face by the Indian fast bowler Varun Aaron in 2014 damaged his confidence with the bat, and he did not regain his batting credentials until he adopted Warne’s tactics as a tailender.
Broad went on to become a dangerous counter-attacking hitter in England’s lower order, including a stint as the so-called “Nighthawk” in the ongoing Baseball era, with permission to subvert the conventions of traditional night watcher tactics by returning the attack to the bowlers in the day’s final overs.
Broad is expected to assume a position with Sky Sports immediately after retirement. However, he acknowledged that his priority after the conclusion of the Ashes would be “baby-sitting duties” after his daughter, Annabelle, birth in November of last year.
“There’s quite a long break after this series, so I was getting a lot of time off anyway,” he said. Even within this Ashes series, I’ve spent seven or eight nights at home, at most.
I have not seen Annabelle and Mollie as frequently as I would have liked at their tender age. I enjoy every aspect of being a father.
Did it play a role in my decision? Potentially. There’s no doubt that the fact that I’ll be spending a bit more time at home fills my spirit with pleasure.
As for his longest-serving teammate, Anderson, about whom most of the retirement rumors in this series have circulated, Broad was as unambiguous as Anderson himself when asked about his intentions on the second night.
“Jimmy will continue,” said Broad. After this series, he’ll have a vacation before embarking on a tour of India, where he has a stellar reputation.
Never did it feel appropriate for us to travel together… I was pleased to learn that Jimmy will continue his efforts.”