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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Phil Blanche

Glenn McGrath hails ‘true champion’ Stuart Broad after retirement announcement

PA Wire

Glenn McGrath described Stuart Broad as a “true champion” and Mike Atherton called him an “undeniably great cricketer” after the England bowler announced that he will retire from cricket following the Ashes.

The 37-year-old, who has taken 602 wickets in 167 Tests, made the announcement at the end of the third day of the final Test against Australia at the Kia Oval.

Broad is the second most successful paceman in Test history, behind team-mate James Anderson, and his hero McGrath was among the first to pay tribute to his skills.

“It is a big decision but you come to a time when you know,” former Australia bowler McGrath told BBC’s Test Match Special.

“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.”

Former England captains Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Sir Alastair Cook were also quick to pay tribute to Broad, who made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in December 2007.

Atherton told Sky Sports: “Great is an overused word sometimes in the commentary box but Stuart is an undeniably great cricketer for England.

“167 games, 602 wickets, and that performance of eight for 15 against Australia on a home ground the absolutely defining performance of his career.

“I think he’s chosen his moment wisely – what better place to go out than against Australia in the Ashes – and he can look back with a great deal of pride at a fantastic career.”

Hussain added: “Stuart gets pigeon-holed as a competitor because the lad at the other end (James Anderson) is one of the most skilful bowlers there’s ever been.

“But you can’t doubt Stuart’s skill and the work that he does that we don’t see in the gym, running, diet and looking after yourself.

“Very rarely does a bowler or a cricketer tick nearly every box. 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?'”

Great is an overused word sometimes in the commentary box but Stuart is an undeniably great cricketer for England
— Mike Atherton on Stuart Broad

“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’s the complete article – the fitness, the hunger, the competitiveness, the skill – and the one thing I know about Stuart Broad is that he won’t let that emotion get in the way of this game.

“That has been the benchmark throughout his career, he wants to win games for England.”

Cook was captain when Broad returned his Test best figures of eight for 15 against Australia at Trent Bridge in August 2015.

He told BBC’s Test Match Special. “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.”

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Richard Gould said: “Stuart Broad is quite simply one of England’s all-time greats. One of the game’s fiercest competitors, it is fitting that he should choose to retire from the game at the culmination of such a closely contested and exciting Ashes series.

“To not only represent your country for 17 consecutive years but to be at the top of your game and amongst the world’s best for almost two decades is remarkable.

“He is a true leviathan of the game and we can not thank him enough for his outstanding service.”

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