When Stuart Broad turned up at Trent Bridge on July 11 for Nottinghamshire's match against Somerset, he didn't know where his career was headed. He had struggled against Sri Lanka and the England selectors were under pressure to drop the pace bowler for the India series.
Three weeks later, he is the toast of England after a heroic performance at his home ground against India. With 15 wickets, including a hat-trick in the second Test, and 182 runs at an average of 60.67, he has proved to be the difference between the two teams.
The selectors were looking for signs of his form turnaround and the wicket of Marcus Trescothick in a county game convinced them.
"Stuart was under pressure when the series started, so to see him do so well at Lord’s and here, it’s a proud moment for him and our club. Stuart's hat-trick here was a huge thrill point," said former Nottinghamshire player Mick Newell, currently director of cricket at the Trent Bridge club.
Newell was Broad's father Chris's opening partner at the Trent Bridge county in the ’80s, and has followed the all-rounder’s career from the start. Broad lives in the vicinity of the Test ground and started playing at the Oakham school here.
The Somerset game was the turning point for Broad. He took five wickets in the first innings, but the manner in which he got Trescothick was the key.
"Stuart got Trescothick to quite a quick ball that he could only glove to the keeper; he is the best player in the county circuit and to surprise him with pace and bounce was a big boost for Stuart," said Newell.
"He swung the ball and bowled at good pace, and maintained an aggressive length… the top of the stump sort of length. In that game, he got the rhythm and the confidence back, which he had lost in the previous few months."
Chris Broad, now an ICC match referee, was a left-handed opening batsman and it was only natural his son wanted to emulate his father as a boy.
But along with the good things, it's only natural the son also inherited some of the negative traits of his father. There was the infamous instance of his dad smashing the stumps in a Test match. "He's got fierceness and passion about his game like his dad," Newell says. "But he's got a better dress sense than his dad and is a lot smarter too."
There have been instances of Broad being officially reprimanded. Newell says the key is how the team management handles him. "He has toned down his behaviour a bit in the course of this series and has not got into trouble with the umpires."
Newell said, as a bowler, Broad is probably at his best and the way he is shaping up as a batsman, it will not be long before he is bracketed in the same category as Richard Hadlee, and Ian Botham. "The bowling would reflect a bowler on the top of his form. There is scope for improvement in his batting though."