Stuart Broad: Taking comfort from Jimmy Anderson's revival

England paceman has been struggling with form and fitness but he has been inspired by success of his fellow fast bowler

He has contributed to two successful Ashes campaigns, helped England win an ICC title and is captain of his country at Twenty20 level. Stuart Broad's career has known troughs as well as peaks, but when reflecting on what he has accomplished it is hard to believe that he is still only 26.

Barring injury, Broad will begin his eighth summer as an England player on Thursday, when New Zealand arrive at Lord's for the First Test. During that time Broad has delighted and frustrated, yet as he tries to plan the second half of his career the Nottinghamshire player draws encouragement from the path followed by his international team-mate Jimmy Anderson.

In his early 20s, Anderson displayed immense talent but little consistency. In the past five years, he has grown into one of the world's finest seam bowlers – and Broad hopes he can do the same.

"Before the Test against New Zealand in Wellington in March, I had quite an interesting wake-up call, because that was where Jimmy and I came into the side together in March 2008," Broad said.

"Jimmy was nearly 26 when he came back into the side for that game but he told me he hadn't looked back since, and during those five years he'd developed into the bowler he is today. I sat back and thought to myself, 'I'm only 26 now' – more or less the same age as Jimmy when he was recalled to the Test team. It excited me, just seeing how Jimmy's rise had gone and thinking about how much improvement there could be in my game too.

"Jimmy's figures before he turned 26 weren't particularly special – he averaged 39 with the ball – but since then they've been phenomenal, so there is a lot of potential for me to improve over the next few years."

It should be heartening for England's supporters to hear Broad speaking with so much optimism after a winter in which he grappled with both form and fitness. He was dropped for the Third Test against India in Kolkata and had to leave the tour before the final Test in Nagpur because of a heel injury. He missed England's 2-1 series triumph, and although he was chosen for the New Zealand tour early this year, the heel bothered him to such a degree early on the tour that he began to wonder whether it would have a severe influence on his future in the game.

There was genuine concern about how effectively the problem – the result of a lacerated fat-pad in his left heel – could be managed. Yet extensive work with England's medical team, coupled with the use of special boots that give Broad's foot extra cushioning in the delivery stride, have made the situation rosier.

Broad collected 11 wickets as the three-match series in New Zealand was drawn 0-0 and while he knows the problem could return at any time, he is now more sanguine about it. "Now that it seems fine, I can be that free spirit again and just play," he said. "The problem is still there and I know it could come back at any time, but I've now got these boots, which have changed my world around.

"When I bowl I'm landing on a really soft material, which has really helped the impact. When I'm training or playing, I more or less live in tape, which is a bit annoying, but then it's only 15 minutes every day strapping the ankle, and it's a technique used in a lot of sports."

New Zealand have already shown they have the potential to place England under strain and they must not be taken lightly. It is difficult for any player, however, not to look at the Ashes battle that lies ahead – and Broad is no different.

"We've got a quest to get back to the top of the world Test rankings and the opportunity to win four Ashes series on the bounce, and it would be amazing to be a part of that. I've been working really hard to improve and I've done a lot of bowling to left-handed batsmen, because the Aussies have so many of them.

"I'd love to keep developing my batting, too, and contribute with another Test hundred to keep helping England. I feel in a good place to make a serious contribution this year."

Broad was interviewed while being dressed by McCann Bespoke, who are donating 10 per cent from any suits purchased between 6 June and 25 August to the Broad Appeal to help fight motor neurone disease. Go to @TheBroadAppeal or www.mccannbespoke.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee