England’s Stuart Broad is confident he has plenty more to give in the Test arena after rolling back the years with a brilliant Ashes campaign.
Having spent the best part of a decade as an automatic pick, the 33-year-old seamer was left out three times in England’s winter tours to Sri Lanka and the West Indies, leading to speculation about his ongoing role in the team.
But, rather than retreat, he used the time to remodel his action and examine new tactics, leaving him ready to lead the attack when James Anderson pulled up injured on the first morning of the Australia series.
Broad finished as England’s top wicket-taker with 23 and can now eye the milestone of 500 career scalps confidently. He is already on 467 and looks revitalised after a dozen years and 132 Tests on the clock.
“I’ve been very pleased with how it has gone this summer. I’ve gone from being talked about as a diminishing cricketer being eased out to a reinvented cricketer with more to offer,” he said.
“At 33 years old, that is a good place to be. All the hard work has been worth it. Fate allowed me to have the time during the winter to work on things.
“We talk about setting the tone with the new ball and I felt that this has been my best summer for a long time in terms of doing that with the new ball. I felt a responsibility to lead that first 10 overs and I’ve had great energy running in.”
Broad’s most memorable contribution to the first drawn Ashes series in 47 years will be his outrageous success against David Warner, a champion batsman reduced to a walking wicket across 10 dire innings.
He fell to Broad seven times in all and never came close to evening the score. It has now always bee the case, though, and the Englishman was magnanimous in his assessment of their duels.
“I had an added responsibility to try and get their big players out and that’s why I did a lot of planning on David Warner,” he said.
“I never dreamt that I would have the success against him that I’ve had. But of course that is just in this series. If we put our numbers together over the course of our careers, with how much we have played against each other, I think they would be quite even.
“He has outdone me in many a series, but this time it went my way.”
If Broad had been able to find a similar way through Steve Smith’s defences the urn might be heading back to Lord’s but as it was, the former Australia captain piled up 774 runs in just seven innings to leave England scratching their heads over and over again.
“They had one batsman who has been a 15 out of 10 and we’ve not had that, which has been a huge difference,” Broad said.
“We would have really liked to win the series but if we sit down in a week’s time without the emotion, it is probably the right result.”
Broad has found a new foil over recent weeks in the form of Jofra Archer, whose express pace and compelling battles with opposition batsmen have marked him out as a star.
Looking back over his first four months of international cricket, in which he has won a World Cup and played a leading role in a fascinating chapter of England’s oldest rivalry, he said: “I need a few weeks to actually sit back and reflect on what’s happened, but from the moment I pulled an England shirt on it’s been amazing.
“I’m still taking it all in. It’s my first Test series either way, but if all Test cricket is like this it’s going to be very exciting.
“I guess the World Cup (was the highlight) but Test cricket and one-day are two different feelings and both of them are very special to me.”