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Is this the best Stuart Broad has ever played for England?

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

In the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, Wisden.com managing editor Ben Gardner explains how Stuart Broad is enjoying his “second wave” as a Test cricketer, on the back of his match-winning returns with the ball in the second Test between England and West Indies.

Broad, who was overlooked for the first Test, set up England’s win with his game-changing spell on the fourth evening, picking up 3-14 in nine stunning overs that reduced West Indies from 242-4 to 252-7, and eventually 287 all out.

Ben Gardner compared the 33-year-old’s current form to his exploits in the summer of 2011, where he picked up 25 wickets in four Tests against India, which led to a sparkling run of form between 2011 and 2013 as he claimed 135 wickets across three calendar years.

“I think he probably did bowl as well as this in 2011 and 2012 going into the India series which England ended up winning 4-0 and were the No.1 side in the world [after the third Test against India],” Gardner said. “Broad’s place was hanging by a thread at that time, and he dominated the series with bat and bowl and going into the UAE, which England obviously got hammered 3-0. But Broad bowled brilliantly on tracks that offered absolutely nothing for the seamers. He bowled dry, he was threatening. I think that was Broad’s other peak. I guess this is his second wave, if you like, as a Test cricketer. It is kind of now.

“He points out in an interview during the Test that [James] Anderson has taken 130 Test wickets since he was the age Broad is now, and Broad’s got all those skills. He doesn’t rely on the huge pace, doesn’t seem to be dropping off snicking, if anything he might have gotten quicker over the past year and I think, in a way for me, the closest [to McGrath]. In terms of his style, in terms of a tall bowler, he is kind of banging away consistently – that’s something you won’t see. McGrath was successful without that speed. Broad ahead of Anderson for me basically anywhere for the moment.”

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