England paceman Stuart Broad confident of making major impact in New Zealand
Broad is one wicket short of 400 in Tests.
Stuart Broad insists his time is about to come again soon – whether or not Joe Root wants him to continue opening the bowling for England.
Broad, just one wicket short of 400 in Tests as a two-match series against New Zealand begins in Auckland this week, still regards himself as a “streak bowler” who changes games in unstoppable spells.
It is a characteristic which has defined the majority of his stellar Test career, yet has been absent for the past two years.
Not since his match and series-winning six for 17 against South Africa in January 2016 has he been close to his brilliant best.
But this is the man who famously clinched the Ashes in a session with his remarkable eight for 15 at Trent Bridge in 2015 – and after a month-long self-tutorial in the Nottingham indoor nets, he is convinced he remains capable of similar deeds.
Broad laboured through England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat this winter, but is adamant he is back on track.
“Yes, I haven’t had that streak for a bit of time, but I do feel like my time is coming,” he said.
“Whether it’s in these two Tests or whether it’s in England, it is coming.”
At 31, some might have concluded Broad may slip into more of an enabling role – especially after Root handed the new ball in last week’s two warm-up matches in Hamilton first to Mark Wood and then Chris Woakes.
But he added: “I think once I’m gone people will look back at me as a streak bowler – someone who’s able to change momentum in games – that’s how I view myself as a cricketer.
“I want to be the person you turn to when you need something exciting to happen – let’s try and break this Test match open.
“That’s how I’ve played my cricket, and (it) actually influenced some of the changes I made in February.”
I’ve got that buzz back Stuart Broad
While England were still away playing limited-overs cricket against Australia and New Zealand, Broad was hard at work trying to re-groove his action and methods.
“I wanted to get back to the feel of cricket because I am a ‘feel’ cricketer. I’ve got that buzz back,” he said.
“It’s where I need to be as a cricketer, and I hope that will come to fruition in the foreseeable future.”
It may not be with the new ball here – although Broad reports, after a conversation with coach Trevor Bayliss, that issue is still up in the air.
“I’ve just spoken to Trev, and certainly no decision has been made for Thursday,” he said. “But either way, I think the first-change bowler will be on within eight overs anyway.”
Broad has bought into a new fluidity of plans as England try to address their poor Test form of late away from home.
“It’s that sort of thinking that’s coming into the bowling group rather than just ‘these two blokes have to take the same new ball – that’s how the mantra works’,” he said.
“We’re going to try and be a bit more flexible.
Which of our bowlers will make the most impact in New Zealand? pic.twitter.com/PmM4xbwxQC— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 15, 2018
“We’re just trying to find ways to improve really – because there’s no hiding place from the fact away from home we haven’t got it right.”
What of that all-important next wicket, though?
It will be a proud achievement, albeit one Broad wishes had come round just that little bit quicker.
“I’m desperate to get 400 – but regardless of the individual wickets, I think over a long period of time it’s proof that I’ve put a lot of dedication into it,” he added.
“Of course, it would be a very nice club to join – but it’s been a long time coming over the last six months.”