Stuart Broad has left the building

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2 minute read

Or at least last week’s Stuart Broad has. Everyone get their stuff so we can move somewhere else lest he returns and finds us again.

We did suggest in the comments to that piece that the real Slim Stuart might again stand up. He had bowled a handful of quicker balls in the first Test which at least hinted that he was still capable of such a thing. It was just that he couldn’t maintain it.

On day two of the second Test, things picked up a bit. Broad bowled pretty quickly and lo, he suddenly started taking wickets. People can get a bit ‘it’s what you do with it that counts’ about bowling speed, but as we always say: pace isn’t everything, but it is something.

Look at the chart below and it’s fairly obvious where day two begins.

Hawkeye data taken from Cricinfo
Hawkeye data taken from Cricinfo

There’s a lot of talk about resting quicker bowlers these days. That makes sense because in general that’s what they need. Bowling builds fatigue and international bowlers bowl a hell of a lot.

However, bowling also, in parallel, builds fitness, and so what the bowler actually delivers is based on the relationship between those two things. Broad, having been injured, hasn’t actually had an enormous workload in recent times. He may not have missed any Test matches, but he’s missed one-day series and been out of the nets. We’re therefore hopeful that he’ll return to his best as fitness builds without being negated by too much fatigue. For a short time yesterday, he was decent.

Broad himself believes that going a bit wider on the crease helped him bowl quicker, saying “it gave me momentum to drive my hips through.”

Maybe that’s true. Maybe it was going wider on the crease. Maybe he’s gaining fitness as well. Maybe a different attitude helped liberate his body from tense, self-imposed shackles. Maybe the wind had changed. Whatever it was, he’ll need it to continue because yesterday he looked good, whereas the day before he bowled like a rusty old robot snatched from a pie factory production line.


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  1. I don’t come here for fancy graphics, evidence and matter-of-fact hover captions.

    Make with the cat pictures.

    1. The hover caption was indeed very, very disappointing. I’d rather have none in that case.

    2. Am I the only regular who was unfortunately engaged in my job that I missed the original, enraging hover caption?

      I am dying to know what it said. I am assuming something very functional such as “day two pace some 8% faster on average than day one pace”, which would be truly upsetting for some.

      Or perhaps there was an element of light touch, such as “spot the faster balls”.

    3. “Hawkeye data taken from Cricinfo”.

      You see? You were better off not knowing.

  2. On the Anger-Amazement spectrum, I’m obviously amazed, but I’m also angry. Clunky post-op. pie-thrower SB was the obvious choice to drop for somebody like Wood or Plunkett, and now he’s not any more.

    This because the selectors seem wedded to Jordan (possibly for his batting and fielding rather than his bowling?). Still, at least he does seem to be pushing up through the ranks from rfm to rf. Just a shame he’s not very good at it.

  3. Folks, please try to keep a check on your emotions.

    This matter of inappropriate graphics from his majesty should not anger you, nor should it amaze you. The emotion that you should seek, I submit, is pity.

    Put yourself in his position. Temporarily elevated to the role of cricket correspondent for a journal/e-journal that boasts hundreds of thousands of readers, albeit one with no budget for copy. His pieces were witty. His material was consistently good.

    In a moment of ill-placed reverie, he imagines himself a later-day Channel 4 analyst. Who wouldn’t in such circumstances? Simon Hughes does it all the time; he too can write.

    Pity, not anger.

    And now, back to the sort of graphs that your subjects want, KC:

  4. I like Ali and I hope I’m wrong. I would have him in my T20 and ODI but i’m not sure about Test cricket. I think he started really well and it’s probably unfair to judge him when he just arrived in WI but he bowled poorly and, as a batsman, judged a run even worse. To some extent I feel that Stokes is a Botham except that he cant bowl or bat as well as Botham did. It does seem odd to have Buttler batting at 8 with a Test average over 65. If only Rashid could bowl more consistantly, I think he would be a good replacement for Ali and Buttler could bat at 7 🙂

  5. There seems to be a steady drip of people forgetting what Saker and the other coaches told them. Broad, Finn and Cook are looking at recently excavated tapes of when they were good, for example.

  6. This week’s Stuart Broad, mind, still can’t bat and still reviews everything.

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