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Despite lows, Broad riding high on Ashes

There’s not a lot to be impressed about England’s Stuart Broad. But through his burst at the Oval in 2009 that helped England regain the Ashes, have ensured the Nottinghamshire pacer will be counted among the Ashes heroes. Sai Mohan reports.

cricket Updated: Aug 14, 2013 01:40 IST
Sai Mohan

If you’re a hard-nosed cricket fan who swears by his statistics, there’s not a lot to be impressed about England’s Stuart Broad.

He’s not the quickest bowler around. Neither can he swing the ball as prodigiously as team mate James Anderson. There are no special weapons in his armoury. Prior to his 11-wicket haul at Durham that settled the fourth Test and gave England the series, the 27-year-old had 201 wickets from 60 Tests, just over three wickets per Test at an ordinary average of 32.

But through his burst at the Oval in 2009 that helped England regain the Ashes, and his six wickets for 20 runs in 45 deliveries, five of them in a spell that sliced through Australia’s middle order on Monday, have ensured the Nottinghamshire pacer will be counted among the Ashes heroes.

Inconsistent
There’s no doubt Broad is inconsistent. His figures in this series read: 1-40, 2-54, 1-26, 1-30, 1-108, 5-71 and 6-50. In between ten five-wicket hauls, he has had little to show. India fans though will not easily forget his devastating spells during the whitewash of 2011.

Former England swing bowler Angus Fraser, who averaged a fifer every four Tests, feels Broad still has much to learn.

“There’s no doubt he’s always been very inconsistent. But when he gets it right, he’s always been effective. He’s got great pace, bounce, and the ability to move the ball. He can reverse it too. When he gets those things right he can be a handful,” Fraser told HT on Tuesday.

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Fraser though felt Broad, with 37 wickets from 11 Ashes Tests, has some distance to go before he can join the likes of Derek Underwood (105 wickets from 29 Tests), Ian Botham (148 wickets, 36 Tests) and Bob Willis (128 wickets, 35 Tests) as England’s greatest Ashes bowlers.

“I’ll have to question whether or not he’s an Ashes legend yet,” said Fraser, who took 46 wickets from 12 Ashes Tests.

“Sure, his spell at the Oval in 2009 was great because the series was locked at one win apiece going into the last Test. But, this is a very ordinary Australia team, and that’s why he’s got a long way to go.”

Asked if getting smashed by Yuvraj Singh for six 6s in an over at the 2007 World Twenty20 inadvertently worked in Broad’s favour, Fraser said: “No. It just happened. At that time, I remember meeting him, and he was surely feeling anxiety and embarrassment. But he bounced back quickly. There’s a great support system surrounding him. He was the pin-up boy of English cricket at the time.”