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Feature

What Stuart Broad said after announcing his retirement

Every word from Broad's close-of-play press conference at The Oval

Stuart Broad announced his impending retirement at the close of day three, England vs Australia, 5th men's Ashes Test, The Oval, 3rd day, July 29, 2023

Stuart Broad announced his impending retirement at the close of day three  •  ECB via Getty Images

At the end of the third day of the fifth men's Ashes Test, Stuart Broad announced that he will retire from professional cricket at the end of this match. He spoke to the media at a press conference later on Saturday evening: this is what he said.
Stuart, congratulations on the career, which is nearly done. Can you just tell us how you have felt since you started telling people - Stokesy [Ben Stokes], the team, the world?
I feel great, to be honest. I've probably been thinking for a couple of weeks and even up until last night, I was still just sat in my room, umming and ahhing, speaking to Mollie [King, his wife].
At half-eight, I just texted Stokesy saying: 'Can I come and see you?'. I walked in, shook his hand and said: 'That's me, thanks for everything you've done for me'. I feel really great, and I feel even better that we've had a brilliant day today. I was a bit nervous this morning thinking that if we lose early wickets, I could feel a bit devastated.
But to see the guys play the way they did, entertain the way they did - and I thought the atmosphere here today was awesome - it felt so good. And we've put ourselves in a position that I wished we could be in to try and chase ten wickets for an Ashes win. Well, an Ashes Test match win.
You've seen in your 16 years so many people come in and out of the set-up. Some leave on their own terms, some don't. Was that part of the vibe for you: do you feel a sense of satisfaction that this is you walking away with a great series behind you?
Yeah, 100 percent. I knew deep down that I wanted to finish playing cricket at the very top. Part of me wanted to know that I could still do it when I eventually stopped. I've had a love affair with the Ashes my whole life and the thought of being able to bowl my last ball and face my last ball against Australia is something that fills me with joy. That's come to fruition.
Ultimately, I set myself a goal in April that I'd try and be fit and available for the captain for five Ashes Test matches. And to play all of them is just a really special feeling, and to be a part of them. It's been the most enjoyable series, the most entertaining series, the most edge-of-the-seat series that I can remember. Ultimately, I'm in love with the game, I still love playing the game, I love being part of the changing room and I wanted to have those memories leaving the game. That will definitely make me stay in love with the game of cricket for the rest of my life.
You're coming over nice and calm and chilled here. Do you think tomorrow is going to be different?
Oh, it's all a blur in my own mind. Don't worry. I just said to Danny [Reuben, England men's media manager] after doing an interview outside that I can't remember one word I said. It's certainly emotional.
I told Stokesy and Baz [Brendon McCullum] last night and felt calm and uplifted by telling someone outside of my bubble. And then I tried to tell Rooty [Joe Root] this morning and just couldn't say a word. I just shook his hand, again, said: 'That's me', and that's all that would come out. I just couldn't get any words out. We just had a hug.
Then I told the boys in the changing room straightaway when we got to the ground. In the little football game we play, I'm the chairperson, the decision-maker, so I had to pass the chair over to Ben Duckett.That's how I started it. Then, I just said: 'Look boys, this'll be my last game'.
You're going to Sky [Sports], into the commentary box now…
I'm going to the golf course! Well, I say that - I'm going to baby-sitting duties for Annabella. I've got I think 12 days [of commentary] coming up through the Hundred and few of the ODIs which have been in for six months or so, which is really exciting to have in the diary.
And then in the winter, there's obviously nothing at the moment - because I wasn't sure of what my winter plans were. So, a bit of time with the family and see where the wind blows.
Stuart, are you glad you got a bat today? And can you talk about walking off with Jimmy [Anderson], both not out, and if you've thought of what tomorrow or Monday could hold for you and your great mate?
Yeah, I mean I walked out to bat and Woody [Mark Wood] was out there with a big beaming smile and just said: 'This is a great honour!'. That partnership lasted about four balls!
It was brilliant being out there with Jim: his reverse-sweep, his slog-sweep. I don't think he enjoyed [Mitchell] Starc's bouncer so much, that hit him on the arm. I don't know what we'll do tomorrow, if we'll bat on or get bowling straightaway, but if we do, then, what a pleasure to walk out there with Jimmy, with bat in hand - and then probably straightaway with ball in hand.
On finishing here [at The Oval] specifically. Obviously, it's a place where a lot of great careers have ended, but it's also kind of where your career got a kick-start in 2009, in an Ashes Test. Is there a sense of full circle at all?
You're dead right. That was when I felt like I belonged on the international stage; the first time I'd really bowled a spell that changed a game and got important wickets. And The Oval is generally the last Test of the summer throughout my career, so it holds incredible memories. I think it's one of the greatest grounds in the world. The crowd today made that even more strong in my mind how great this place is.
We've got some brilliant memories of winning series here. Obviously, we're not going to win this series, but we can still finish with a brilliant result here. And I think, ultimately, if we can get this series to 2-2, we can hold our heads up very high of how we've gone about it. Because I think we've all really enjoyed being a part of this series. Although we didn't get it quite right in the first couple of games, I think we've been spectacular since Leeds. So The Oval, it's certainly up there in the top five grounds and it would be a pleasure to bowl my final ball here.
Given you don't declare overnight, and tomorrow could be your last day of Test, how perfect is it that you could get to bat, bowl and field?
I'd prefer just to bowl and field to be honest! But yeah, it felt weird walking out to bat, to be honest. I started putting my pads on and Zak Crawley went: 'You won't miss putting your pads on, will you?' and I went: 'Nope, not at all'.
But actually, I loved being out there, it was a pleasure to be out there with two great mates and walk off past Mo [Moeen Ali] who gave me a big fist-tap of the gloves and just said: 'Have a great time, mate. Love every moment'.
Ultimately, to be honest, one of the reasons that swung my decision was: I look around this changing room and both players and management, I've played so much cricket with the people in this changing room and it still feels very much like my changing room. I've got great friends and great memories within that, and I actually wanted to leave the game playing with a group of players that I've got so much respect for - and two guys at the top, Baz and Stokesy, who have made the last 14 months of my career an absolute joy.
I've learned so much about leadership, management, how to go about managing people off those two, and I just feel in a fantastic place, as a player, as a person and just feel very happy and content at the moment.
The first time you came to prominence in world cricket - and sorry to bring this up - was Yuvraj Singh's six sixes. Looking back 16 years later, can you relate to the person, the bowler, the hair - everything from back then, and talk about your evolution since then.
Yeah, it was obviously a pretty tough day. What would I have been: 21, 22? [22] I learnt loads. I pretty much based a whole mental routine through that experience knowing that I was left very short as an international performer in that moment. I'd rushed my preparation. I didn't have any sort of pre-ball routine. I didn't have any focus, particularly, and I started building my 'warrior mode' that I call it after that experience.
Ultimately, of course, I wish that didn't happen. I think what really helped me was it was a dead rubber, so it didn't feel like I'd knocked us out of the World Cup or something. But I think it steeled me up to make me the competitor I am to this day and has driven me forward a huge amount.
You obviously go through massive peaks and troughs and when you look at someone like Stokesy's career, he's done that sort of thing as well. Most players have. But ultimately I think it's that bouncebackability and that ability to be able to put poor days behind you because certainly one thing over the past whatever - 15, 16 years - you have a lot more bad days than good days in cricket so you have to be able to deal with them to make sure your good days can flourish.
I just wonder what Jimmy's reaction was when you told him, and whether you think it might affect his own plans?
Jimmy will carry on, definitely. He is feeling really good and fresh, and there's a bit of a break after this series, then an India tour, where he has got a fantastic record. Ultimately, I think it never felt quite right for the two of us to go together. We needed some sort of crossover - not that it really came into my decision-making.
I was delighted to hear that Jimmy was going to keep going and carry on, because it's nice that there will be one half of that partnership still within the changing room, until it sort of gets passed over when Jimmy decides his time is up.
How much has fatherhood had an impact on this decision?
Great question. It's a difficult one to answer, really, because there's quite a long break after this series so I was getting a lot of time off anyway. But even within this Ashes series - we played Ireland in the first week in June - I think I've been home for seven or eight nights, maybe. And because Mollie works Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, she's not been able to travel.
I feel like I haven't seen Annabella and Mollie as much as I would like to - at such a young age, particularly. I love everything about being a dad and I'm certainly going to throw all my time and effort into being a great dad. Did it come into my decision? Potentially. There's certainly something that fills my heart with joy that I'll be able to spend a bit more time at home.
The 151 wickets you've taken against Australia is the most of any bowler in history. Do you think they'll be relieved that you're not going around again, and why do you think you've had success against Australia particularly?
I think there's something in my family history with Ashes cricket. I grew up from such a young age just being besotted by it. Ultimately, my influential years as a kid playing cricket, we weren't winning many Ashes Tests and that grew my hunger and desire to want to be part of a team that could win against Australia. I certainly think as a player I've had a good record in England against Australia. They're such a beast of a team at home to get near - apart from [20]10-11.
Ultimately I think the competitiveness of what Australia bring to cricket brings out the best in me. I love that eye-to-eye battle. I love the energy the crowd brings, the battle and rivalry, and I know my emotions have to be sky-high for me to be a good bowler and my competitive spirit has to be sky-high.
I can promise you every single time I've run in with a ball in my hand against Australia, they've been there. It does make me feel proud to have 150 Test wickets against the Aussies, and to be in that category with Warney and Glenn [McGrath] above. I have loved every minute against Australia, for sure - apart from Mitchell Johnson bowling at Brisbane, that was horrific.
You've spoken about that competitiveness and how it brings out the best in you. How much are you going to miss that competition?
I think, having spoken to a few team-mates that have moved on from the game, that is certainly something that is quite hard to replace. I'll probably start off by playing a bit of five-a-side football on a Monday night to see how that goes. You're not allowed to do that as an England cricketer. From Sunday or from Monday, I might be able to.
You have to find different ways to fuel your competitive instinct, because you can't just do nothing and expect your competitive instinct to go away. I might try and convince Mollie it has to be golf competitions or something but I'm not sure she'd fall for that.
Strictly [Come Dancing]?
Not Strictly, no. The thought of dancing in front of 11 million people gives me the shudders.
How do you want hope that everyone remembers you, when they look back at your career?
When I was a kid growing up, I had sporting idols like Martin Johnson and Stuart Pearce. When I watched them, I loved their passion and drive. I never looked at them and thought, 'I could give more for that shirt'.
Ultimately how I have played my sport is, I would never want anyone in the crowd or watching at home or listening on the radio to think, 'He's not putting in', or, 'He's not giving absolutely everything or putting his heart and soul into it.'
I know I am not the most skilful player that's played. I know I need every inch of my competitive spirit and my drive and my effort to get anything out of my ability. And I would say every day I've pulled on a Nottinghamshire shirt or an England shirt, I've given my heart and soul.
I can't think that there would be too many cricket fans out there that would think I've slacked off for a moment.