Stuart Broad was left ‘disgusted’ and ‘bitterly frustrated’ after he was left out of the opening Test of the Wisden Trophy as England opted to go with the raw pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
By the end of the third Test, the lanky 34-year-old has testified why that decision bordered on the lines of ‘blunder’. With 16 wickets across two Tests in Manchester, Stuart Broad displayed why he is such an irresistible force in seaming conditions and why he should always be picked in England’s starting XI when it comes to playing in home conditions.
Coming into this Test match, Broad was nine wickets shy from breaching the 500-wicket mark and entering the elite club that boasts of names like Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath, Anil Kumble and his partner-in-crime in James Anderson.
While a few may have expected him to breach the barrier in the 3rd Test himself, considering the form he’d displayed in the preceding match, but even those who may have their doubts would have been convinced that something special could happen in Manchester when he clobbered a whirlwind 62 off 45 to take England from a precarious position of 8-280.
All-round Stuart Broad stages his redemption with perfection
Broad’s batting has declined considerably in the past few years, but so determined and focussed was the 34-year-old that he managed to shrug off all his inhibitions as a batsman.
With the ball, he was, in one word: Unplayable. His nip-backers from hell consistently saw the demise of Windies batsman, who couldn’t help but either get trapped in front of wickets or nick off.
Batting average: 73.00
Bowling average: 10.93
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 28, 2020
Broad claimed six West Indies wickets in the first innings and returned to add four more in the second innings to become the only cricketer to do a double of taking a 10-for and scoring a half-century in the same Test.
In the process, he also became the leading wicket-taker  for England in 4th innings, leapfrogging James Anderson . The moment of the Test match was undoubtedly the Kraig Brathwaite’s dismissal on the final day that helped Stuart Broad become just the 4th seamer to take 500 wickets. Guess what, he did that with another nip-backer.
From getting dropped in the 1st Test to being adjudged as the ‘Player of the Series’ Stuart Broad’s redemption tale is a case study in how one should react when life throws stones at him/her.
It was fitting that Stuart Broad finished off the proceedings when he claimed the final West Indian wicket- his 10th in the game- to cap off what was a perfect match for one of the modern greats. Needless to say, he was adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ and England’s ‘Player of the series’- 16 wickets in 2 Tests at 10.93 and a batting average of 73.
Here’s what Stuart Broad said in the post-match conference:
“You want performances to lead to wins so to get to 500 on a day that we won a Test match and a series feels very special. I’ve learned a huge amount through my career. I feel so fresh and excited to play the game and I’ve done some technical work that makes me feel in great rhythm. Looking forward to getting back and playing against Pakistan. Competition keeps everyone performing strongly,” Stuart Broad said in the post-match presentation as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
“It’s unrealistic to think that all of us will play all three Tests against Pakistan with the workloads we’ve got. We got the most of the pitches, they haven’t been quick but they have seamed. [Catching Anderson?] Jimmy’s still at the peak of his powers and he turns 38 in this little break. It’s a pleasure to be on the field playing with him. We’ve really enjoyed this week being back together.” he added.