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'I learned pretty quickly to mix it up'

Ahead of Stuart Broad's 50th Test appearance, and 100th first-class game, he reflects on his career to date

Interview by George Dobell

August 15, 2012

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad spreads his arms to celebrate his hat-trick, England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day, July 30, 2011
Career highlight: Stuart Broad celebrates his hat-trick against India at Trent Bridge in 2011 © Getty Images
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2005: The beginning
I had an offer from Durham University and a contract offer from Leicestershire. I took the contract home to my mum and we decided I should approach my cricket career as someone else might an apprenticeship in another profession, such as plumbing. University was a real temptation, but the decision worked well, and a year or so later I was playing for England.

2006: England ODI debut
I had only played six List A games before my ODI debut, so the selectors took a bit of a gamble on me. But there are two ways to learn, aren't there? You can spend years learning your trade in the county game, or you can be thrown in at the deep end. I feel very fortunate that they did that with me. It was an intense experience, but I learned quickly and feel it was hugely beneficial for me. I'm 26 now and most bowlers peak between 28 and 32.

2007: Being hit for six sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh
It was a learning experience. I'd had a good summer but, it turned out, I didn't have the variations required for that level of international cricket. When you're growing up, you're taught to bowl six balls in the same spot, but after that I learned pretty quickly that you have to mix it up. It was all part of the learning curve. The other thing was, at least that over didn't cost us anything. We were already out of the competition and it was a dead game.

2008: Leaving Leicestershire for Nottinghamshire
I developed through the system at Leicestershire and consider myself very fortunate to have done so. They were fantastic for me. A bigger, richer club wouldn't have put me in the first team so soon but at Grace Road I had lots of opportunity. But, at the time, I wasn't in the Test side and the view was that I needed to be playing Division One cricket. There's a huge gap between the two divisions now. Nottinghamshire have been brilliant. Mick Newell is an amazing coach and man manager, the facilities are excellent, and it's a big club playing in the top division. I've not looked back.

2009: Man of the Match at The Oval as England beat Australia to reclaim the Ashes
That changed my life. I was only 23 and it had been a tough summer, but that spell turned it around. It was a special time. And the celebrations after the series were even more special. We became celebrities after that series. It was the biggest series I had played to date and, at the time, it was probably my career highlight.

2011: Hat-trick against India at Trent Bridge
That's what I see as my career highlight. It annoys me when people say India were rubbish in that series. It makes me think that they know nothing about cricket. India were a very strong side and, until then, they had us under real pressure. We were under the pump in that game. We had been bowled out cheaply in the first innings and they passed us with only four wickets down. But then I was able to put my hand up in a big game on my home ground and we bowled them out in about an hour. India were a good side, but we were fantastic in that series.

Current workload
I'm not one to complain about playing cricket. We're very lucky, aren't we? I love playing cricket, and when you think about those people who have to get up on a cold morning and go to work on a building site, you realise pretty quickly no one wants to hear us moaning. It's true that we're away from home a lot, but a million people would swap positions with us in an instant. And you're a long time retired.

Yes, I play all three formats and yes I'd like to play IPL, but the priority is playing for England. It is with most guys. When you look back on your career, it is the memories you make playing for your country that are most special.

The England set-up is very well managed now, too. Andrew Flintoff just played until he broke. That doesn't happen anymore. Every ball we deliver, in the nets or in the middle, is monitored, and we are told when we need a break. We're very well looked after.

Bowling speeds this summer
I don't think the speed guns should be trusted. We don't really see the figures from those as players, anyway, but the way I understand it, the speeds have been down for the South Africa bowlers too. There's no way Dale Steyn is bowling at 79mph, I promise you. We use Hawk-Eye data

2012: South Africa at Lord's
This Test against South Africa is huge. We have a good record at Lord's and we are very excited by the challenge. It is a must-win game and we are up against one of the best sides we've played. It's a huge challenge but one I absolutely believe we can overcome.

Stuart Broad was speaking at West Bridgfordians CC. The club is one of three who have won the chance to take on the NatWest Legends in a one-off match to help boost their fundraising efforts. To find out more about the NatWest Locals vs Legends T20 Series and for more details about all three matches, visit natwest.com/cricket

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (August 18, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

@icfa - if you read the article (not the heading), you'd know the answer!

Posted by crick_sucks on (August 17, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

"learned pretty early to mix it up" I am guessing this was post T20 WC 2008.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 17, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

Got to be honest Broad is probably my favourite England player. I think he has matured alot as a person but seems to have lost some pace (through injury?) which means he can't vary it as much as he'd like to.I feel he needs to work on length and line a bit more and hope he can rediscover his best form.

Posted by Harlequin. on (August 17, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

He may be a decent bowler, but I dislike Broad a lot. Easily the most childish player in the current team (KP included), and that he seems to take his place in the England team for granted. His attitude sucks, and I'm not too disappointed that he will mainly be remembered for being mauled by Yuvraj (incidentally one of my favourite cricketers!)

Posted by Meety on (August 17, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

@Munkeymomo - I know you were responding to Trolling & I know that Oz's batting has been suspect, BUT, atm Broad would not have Oz shaking in their boots. He has performed ONCE in TWELVE innings against Oz. His overall stats (v Oz) include an Ave of 35+ & a S/R of 67+, he takes LESS than 3 wickets per test v Oz. If those are scary stats for Oz batsmen, I would say that England will be concerned about MJ dropping the strides of some of their batsmen given in 15 innings he has DOUBLE the amount of wickets of Broad at a S/R of 51, & takes 4.5 wickets per match! Food for thought!

Posted by Maui3 on (August 16, 2012, 20:18 GMT)

I dont like Broad. But, gotta admit, he has become a phoenomenal player. He has the magic of a special allrounder, who can turn the match against a tough opposition on its head. If he stays healthy and manages to be get a little more consistant, he has the potential to end as being one of the best allrounder ever.

Posted by voma on (August 16, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

Hes turned into a very fine player , his statistics are pretty impressive . Maybe should of scored more runs ,especially in ODIs . Could be an England player for a very long time .

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 16, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

@jonesy2: I'll bet the hapless Aussie batsmen don't share your desires for Broad to be bowling to them. They'll just get embarrassed by him. Again.

Posted by raj_24 on (August 16, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

@Romantiscud

Haha , SA as usual choked in that game as well in the QF .

do not give excuses like injuries etc.

Choking is appropriate

Posted by StoneRose on (August 16, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

MattyP1979: I disagree: he was excellent in NZ when he made his debut. He bowled for all but 3 overs of the afternoon session in Napier backing up Sidebottom's 7 wickets with 3 himself. He was an ideal replacement for Harmison who had fast been losing his mojo at that point. Granted the 'too-short' bowling let him down for a time but he's a good asset for England, especially in ODI cricket. He needs to contribute more with the bat however.

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