Stuart Broad has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket when the fifth and final Ashes Test Match comes to a close. He made the decision last night after thinking about calling time on his career for ‘a few weeks’.
The 37-year-old has 602 wickets in 167 Tests, making him the second most successful paceman in Test history behind team-mate James Anderson.
“Tomorrow or Monday will be my last day of cricket, it has been a wonderful ride, a huge privilege to wear the Nottinghamshire and England badge as much as I have and I am loving cricket as much as I ever have,” Broad told Ian Ward on Sky Sports at the close of day three.
“This series has just felt like it’s been one of the most enjoyable and entertaining and I always wanted to finish at the top.
“I made the decision about 8.30 last night. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, a few weeks. England vs Australia has always been the pinnacle for me, I have loved the battles with Australia that have come my way and the team’s way, I have a love affair with Ashes and I think I wanted my last bat and bowl to be in Ashes cricket.
“I told Stokesy last night and told the changing room this morning and to be honest it just felt the right time and I didn’t want friends or Nottinghamshire team mates to see things that might come out so I prefer to just say it and just give it a good crack for the last Australia innings.”
Broad, who made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2007, sits fifth on the all-time list of Test wicket-takers. Alongside team-mate Anderson, he is one of only two fast bowlers to pass 600 Test wickets for their country and took his 150th Ashes wicket in his final game this week – the highest tally of any Englishman.
The Nottinghamshire player leaves international cricket with a number of honours to his name, including the 2010 T20 World Cup and four Ashes series wins.
“I have thought a lot about it and even up till 8pm last night I wasn’t 50/50 but even when I went up to Stokesy’s room and told him I have felt really happy since and content with everything I have achieved in the game. Ultimately the decision came down to I knew I wanted to leave the game loving cricket and my last memories being a really enjoyable changing room.
“I have so many friends and figures in management that I’ve been around for so long. I look around and I have played so much cricket with all of them. It feels like my changing room and I wanted to sort of walk away playing with a group of players I love to bits.”
Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia's Travis Head on day two— (AFP via Getty Images)
Former England captain Mike Atherton described Broad as an “undeniably great cricketer”, while fellow ex-captain Nasser Hussain hailed Broad’s competitive spirit and his hunger for the battle.
“Very rarely does a bowler or a cricketer tick nearly every box,” Hussain told Sky Sports. “As a captain you do want that, especially in an Ashes battle when you say to people: “Do you really want to be out in the cauldron?”
“Some people like it and then they shy away from it. They want a taste of it but then they don’t want anymore because they don’t want that pressure. Stuart’s great attribute is that he wants to be in that cauldron. He wants to be in that pressure, he enjoys that pressure, and he may miss that pressure in the long run.”
Broad’s former captan Sir Alastair Cook said: “I’m a bit emotional and a bit surprised, but if you look at the schedule for Stuart Broad, you have India away, Sri Lanka and West Indies next summer, no offence to those sides but Broad is about big moments. So for him to get through to another big moment is probably another two-and-a-half years.
“The one player to deliver, alongside Ben Stokes, in the big moments is Stuart Broad and what a feeling that must be for a player.”
Broad’s idol Glenn McGrath hailed the England seamer as a “true champion”.
McGrath told BBC’s Test Match Special: “It is a big decision but you come to a time when you know. He loves the big moments, he loves the pressure and that is the sign of a true champion. Going out on your own terms is special as well. He has been incredible for England for a long, long time.”
A statement from the ECB read: “The England and Wales Cricket Board would like to thank Stuart for his incredible dedication and contribution to English cricket and we wish him well for the remainder of his final Test match and the future.”