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Broad reaching new heights, maintains Strauss

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Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad

PA

Stuart Broad

Sir Andrew Strauss believes Stuart Broad's competitive streak has helped him find the form of his life as he prepares to enter one of Test cricket's most exclusive clubs.

A washout on day four of the deciding third Test against the West Indies meant Broad spending a second successive night on 499 career wickets, while his side's charge towards a series-clinching victory was also halted in its track.

Broad has already taken combined figures of eight for 39 in the match and, with eight more West Indian scalps up for grabs, it is almost inconceivable that he will have to wait much longer.

Strauss has known Broad almost 15 years, playing 47 Tests with him and captaining 38 of those, but cannot remember the seamer looking more consistently dangerous than he is right now at the age of 34.

Since the start of 2019, Broad has taken 66 wickets at 21.19 - well below his career average of 28 - and Strauss believes the decision to leave him out of the side as part of a rest and rotation strategy for the first Test of the summer has driven him to new heights.

"I honestly don't believe Stuart Broad has bowled much better than this," said Strauss, who has helped raise more than £655,000 for the Ruth Strauss Foundation over the past four days.

"When we look at all of his attributes, you can talk about his height and pace but it's actually about his competitiveness as we have seen it this year.

"He is at his best when he has something to prove. He's had the bit between his teeth in these last two Test matches and that has served him particularly well over the course of his career."

Strauss also cautioned against drawing the curtain too quickly on the era of Broad and James Anderson, who took his 500th Test wicket in 2017.

"It goes without saying they are two of England's greatest of all time and what has really impressed me is their hunger to continue," said Strauss.

"Let's not be in a hurry to pension them off because they have both got a lot more to offer."

Meanwhile, David Willey has been recalled to the England squad to face Ireland in the One Day International on Thursday.

Squad: E Morgan (c), M Ali, J Bairstow, T Banton, S Billings, T Curran, L Dawson, J Denly, S Mahmood, A Rashid, J Roy, R Topley, J Vince, D Willey.

Belfast Telegraph