Chris Broad - My First Test
It was a heavenly summer - hot and sunny. The wickets were hard and true and fast bowlers were in town. The year was 1984 and a tall, powerfully built, dark-haired left-hander from Nottinghamshire county stepped onto the Test scene brimming with confidence against Clive Lloyd's rampaging West Indians.
"Do you remember your first Test?" was the rhetorical question I asked Chris Broad as he sat sun-bathing on Brandon's beach. "Most certainly," was his chirppy, but calculated response, "... Lord's, 1984 against the West Indies who had Richards, Greenidge, Haynes, Holding, Marshall, Garner, and the lot. They were a top team under Lloyd - a very good outfit."
For Broad it was a bitter-sweet occasion. He hit a polished 55 before being caught behind by Jeff Dujon off Malcolm Marshall. He added an opening stand of 101 with fellow left-hander Greame Fowler, who made his maiden century. England made 286 in the first innings, but Broad fell for a duck in the second as the home team reached 300 for 9 declared. West Indies were led by 41 on first innings, and just when England thought they had the game sown up, Gordon Greenidge, with 214 not out, and Larry Gomes, unbeaten on 92, led the West Indies to an amazing nine-wicket victory.
"As far as the result was concerned it was a disaster - we lost a game we should have won and the series 5-0 - the famous blackwash," Broad recalled. "But it was a whole new experience for me playing Test cricket and I loved every moment of it." The Bristol-born Libra had other scores of 32 and 2 at Leeds, 42 and 21 at Old Trafford and four and 39 at The Oval in what was a nightmare summer for England.
Brian Christopher Broad was 26 at the time and he was drafted into the team as replacement for Andy Lloyd who was hospitalised after receiving a life-threatening blow from Marshall in the previous game. Broad, who made the highest of his six Test hundreds, 162, on England's 1986-87 tour of Australia, had a dream start.
"I liked playing at Lord's and to make my debut there was nothing short of a dream. My last game was also at Lord's, so I started and finished my 25-match career at the 'home'," he said proudly. "It's a place that most people want to play at whether you live in England or come from overseas. Even though we lost the gem it did not matter. I was just happy to have gotten into the team."
Although it was a lovely summer, the first day of the Lord's Test was quite a contrast. It was cloudy and bleak in the morning, with the teams leaving the field on four occasions for bad light. "I remember when the word came back to the dressing room I was a little nervous," Broad said. "I was signing some autographs and then I said 'hey, I've got to bat', and I could not finish the autographs. It was like if I froze at that moment."
According to Broad he was relieved, and a bit lucky that the West Indies chose to open the attack with Joel Garner and rookie Milton Small. "I guess they could have used Holding and Marshall. I liked the fast stuff and 'jeez' was that a relief. I made full use of what was a relative ease," said the 41-year-old who now works as a commentator with the BBC.
Broad, who always had a liking for pace but felt to be weak against spin, raced off the mark, with his first 20 runs coming in boundaries. "Small was very much a medium-pacer and I had a few overs to settle in," he said. "They did not have a mid-wicket and that was my strength so I hit a few down the hill, and had a firm cut and quickly got the hang of things.
"Things did not go too badly for the first four days, just on the last day things fell apart - or rather Greenidge pulled a big one out the bag. That innings taught me a bit about being a Test match opener."