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Stuart Broad at Oakham School

OO Stuart Broad Calls Time on Remarkable Cricket Career

01st August 2023
Stuart Broad and Frank Hayes

Stuart Broad and Frank Hayes

Legendary England cricketer and Old Oakhamian Stuart Broad has retired from professional cricket, bringing to a close a genuinely remarkable career.

It is almost impossible to level too many superlatives at Broad when describing his cricketing story. He is only the third Englishman to have appeared in more than 150 Test matches, recording a staggering 604 wickets over a 15-year Test career – a truly remarkable achievement for a seamer.

Not only is Broad the second highest wicket taker in English Test history – behind only his long-time fast bowling attack contemporary Jimmy Anderson – he is the only Englishman to have taken over 150 Ashes wickets.

With the bat, he managed a career-best 169 against Pakistan in 2010, while also chalking up 13 half-centuries in Test matches.

It is absolutely fitting that such a stellar career should end in a show-stopping fashion. On the Saturday evening of the fifth Test of the 2023 Ashes series, Stuart announced that the match would be his last.

What turned out to be his final ball faced as a Test batsman was swept away for a rip-roaring six. It is on occasions such as this that pundits will claim ‘you couldn’t write it’. But, actually, the tale just getting started.

The 2023 Ashes had been difficult for England. Australia claimed the first two Tests by two wickets and 43 runs respectively. The third Test at Headlingley saw a resurgent England fight back to claim a three wicket victory.

It was at Old Trafford that Broad took his 600th Test wicket, dismissing Travis Head on day one of the fourth Test. A newly energised England side was devastating with the bat. It was the Mancunian rain that proved the real opponent. Day five was a washout and the match was drawn, ensuring the Australians would take the Ashes home with them.

And so to The Oval, where a victory would secure a series draw. Once again, the rain threatened to intervene on day five. Play was finally able to resume at 4:20pm after an earlier inspection and an early tea.

For Australia, a modest haul of 156 runs would seal the series. Then the wickets started to fall – including a nightmare 4-11 over for the Australians. Pat Cummins and Alex Carey briefly stemmed the losses, bringing the target to within 100 runs. Cummins fell for nine, leaving Todd Murphy to form a successful partnership with Carey, reducing the deficit to 55 with two wickets remaining.

Enter stage Stuart Broad. At 6:10, a trademark out-swinger finds the edge of Murphy’s bat and Jonny Bairstow dives to make the catch. The spirited Oval crowd erupts. Stuart – all smiles –  is surrounded.

Australia slowly edge to 334-9 before Broad faces his date with destiny. On strike is Carey – vilified earlier in the series for a controversial stumping, with Broad being one of the more vocal critics.

What would be the very last ball of his career was lightning fast, elegant and pinpoint accurate

Broad did what Broad does. What would be the very last ball of his career was lightning fast, elegant and pinpoint accurate; Carey’s bat couldn’t avoid it. Bairstow makes the catch and the win is England’s. And as the ball is tossed in the air in jubilation – just like that – the career of one of England’s very greatest cricketers is brought to a close.

Despite becoming one of England’s most successful bowlers of all time, Broad began his cricketing life as a batsman.

Broad’s cricket began at home in the garden with his father Chris, a former England cricketer. He played for Melton Mowbray cricket side Egerton Park and the Leicestershire academy from the age of 8.

The 10-year-old Stuart was awarded the Leicestershire Young Cricketers Batsman Award in 1996

Stuart joined Oakham School at the age of 12 and began playing cricket under the stewardship of Oakham legend Frank Hayes – the former Lancashire and England batsman.

In The Old Oakhamian Club Magazine Issue 116, Frank recounted working with a young Stuart Broad.

I threw balls at him when he was 12 and he was different – he timed the ball beautifully

“I threw balls at him when he was 12 and he was different – he timed the ball beautifully. David Steele and I were the first to recognise him as a bowler – he opened batting for county at a young age and did not bowl.

“His action was repeatable and his wrist position was a thing of beauty. He joined the first team, as a bowler, when he was 14 and became less of a one-armed bowler with the practice before gradually becoming a great all-round player.

“He was fanatically keen,” recalls Frank. “On one occasion, when he was 15, I said to them all, ‘now listen lads – we can give you options, show you what to do – but next time I see you I want you to show me something you’ve worked out for yourself’.

“The very next day, the 15-year-old Broad excitedly found me before assembly, and said ‘if I put my fingers close together on the seam of the ball, I can bowl a yard quicker’. We gave him options and stories and he took them away and developed them for himself.”

Broad played his first game for Leicestershire 2nd XI in 2004, just before his 18th birthday. The county was impressed enough to offer him a full contract for the following season. Solid A-level results had also earned him an offer to study at Durham University.

He opted for the former, and in 2005 he made his County Championship debut in the familiar surroundings in the extremely familiar surroundings of Oakham School’s Doncaster Close ground – a long time Leicestershire out-ground.

2006 saw his rise continue. He claimed his first five wicket haul and scored his first Championship half-century. This year also saw Broad’s first involvement with the senior England cricket set-up, as he was included in the England squad for the one-day internationals against Pakistan. His first ODI appearance saw him take a wicket in his first over.

He was also called into the England squad as a replacement partway through the 2007 World Cup, later scoring the winning runs in England’s final match against the West Indies.

For the 2008 season, with his stock continuing to rise, he joined county neighbours Nottinghamshire.

From thereon in, his involvement with England continued to grow. In a glittering international career in both Test cricket and limited over forms of the game, he has hit countless milestones.

As well as being a hugely prolific wicket taker, Broad has the Test cricket record for the most runs in both the 9 and 10 batting positions.

But his career will be most remembered for his fearsome right arm bowl, first identified by Frank Hayes and David Steele at Oakham School.

Congratulations Stuart on your incredible career.

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