Broad ready to do some damage again as he bids for 400th Test wicket
Stuart Broad is just one wicket short of 400 in Tests.
Stuart Broad has yet to be told whether he will keep the new ball as he bids for his 400th wicket – but either way, he is convinced he is ready to “do some damage” again in Test cricket.
Broad insists his fast bowler’s ego is intact after Joe Root gave the new ball first to Mark Wood and then Chris Woakes in England’s two warm-up matches in Hamilton.
After the short trip north to Auckland for this week’s day-night series opener against New Zealand, Broad reports he has gone “back to basics” to bring back the game-changing hot-streak spells for which he has been renowned throughout his career.
They have been thin on the ground over the past two years – including in this winter’s 4-0 Ashes defeat.
But at 31, Broad responded by re-grooving his action in the Trent Bridge nets while England were still away playing white-ball cricket.
Asked if it was a jolt to his confidence when Root preferred others as James Anderson’s new-ball partners against a New Zealand XI, Broad said: “Not at all, no.
“I’m really not sure which way we’ll go [in the first Test] … we’re going to be slightly less rigid in the way we go about things, just to try to create pressure for longer periods of time.
“There has been no decision made on it.
“There’s still a chance I could take the new ball …”
Irrespective of that, Broad admits his self-tutorial in Nottingham was overdue.
“I think my action had fallen into a place where it needed repairing, after bowling so much to left-handers round the wicket – in training and in matches.
“I’m in a place now where I feel like I can do quite a bit of damage as a bowler again.”
It is amazing, he says, what a little solitude and ambient music in the indoor school has helped him achieve.
“This period in February was great for me,” he told the BBC’s Test Match Special.
“I loved it, taking it back to the basics, getting away from all the technical side of cricket and just going back to what you did as a kid – trying things, playing with things.
“You’re just trying to get a feeling back for what cricket is.”
It has nourished his appetite too for an Ashes rematch next year.
“I’m a ‘feeling’ cricketer, and I’ve got a great hunger to play.
“I’ve had a tough Ashes tour; I’ve got a lot of hunger to get in this England team, stay in it and have a lot of success.
“That certainly includes the next Ashes series … at 31, touch wood, I’ve got quite a bit of cricket left in me.”
With just 11 wickets at approaching 50 each this winter, he knows he has a point to prove again.
“I think that was maybe a bi-product of my action not being in the best place.
“It was a tough tour. I didn’t feel like I got much out of those pitches at all, but that can happen when you’re lacking slight confidence in your action.”
One more wicket away from becoming only the second Englishman to reach 400 in Tests – behind Anderson, of course – above all, he is proud of his longevity.
“It’s not necessarily just about taking the individual wickets,” he said.
“It’s more the length of time it takes, the dedication … that you’ve got to put in to be on the cricket field for that long to have the chance of taking 400 wickets.”