Broad begins emotional journey after family struck by tragedy

England's lead bowler is ready for Pakistan but has one eye on matching his father's feat Down Under

There has never been much doubt about the passion and commitment underpinning Stuart Broad's cricket, as a number of umpires will testify. He likes to be "in the face" of his opponents, doing as much intimidating as can be achieved with boyish looks and a beanpole frame.

Yet it will be with more than aggressive bravado that Broad begins an emotional journey at Trent Bridge on Thursday, with the final Test at Sydney in January, amid celebrations of an England series victory, the projected destination. It will be a journey driven by the twin forces of pride and tragedy.

It starts in his home city, from which, 24 years ago, his father set off as a member of the last England side to win the Ashes in Australia. Stuart was less than five months old. It would be the defining winter of Broad senior's career, indelibly forged in three consecutive Test centuries. Later, he declared that baby Stuart had been his lucky mascot.

They have shared a strong relationship since, despite the break-up of the original family. Sadly, immediately after this summer's first Test against Pakistan, they will reinforce their bond in grief. The funeral of Chris's second wife, Miche, takes place a week today.

Stuart's stepmother died three weeks ago from motor neurone disease. "It has been tough," Stuart said. "On the bright side, the whole family [his sister, Gemma, works for the England team as an analyst] have been here to support dad.

"He's OK. He did the Test matches between Australia and Pakistan [Broad senior is an ICC match referee] to keep busy. The funeral is on 3 August and the organising of that has been tough but once that has finished it will be all about remembering the happy times."

The family are pulling together to raise awareness and money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. "We raised £20,000 from a cricket tournament at Wellesbourne Cricket Club in Warwickshire and my mum did a lunch on Sunday that raised £4,000. Bizarrely, my mum got on really well with my stepmum. She was such an outgoing, buzzy personality everyone really warmed to her."

The 1986-87 tour shaped Stuart's upbringing, even though he was too young to remember it. "We had a video called On Top Down Under, which was about the series and I always used to watch it. With pride, too, because of my dad's role.

"He is an inspiration. He was known for his passion, his strength, for delivering his skills under pressure. But he is always there for me too, when I need him."

His own first recollections of England in Australia were formed on the living room couch. "At the age of 10 or 12 I remember staying up to watch on TV, or at least the first hour or so until I fell asleep.

"It was tough because we didn't win a series. We would always listen to Aggers [Jonathan Agnew] on the radio saying Australia had won again, which I suppose gave me a bigger hunger to put the record straight. Whenever we talk about our careers, dad will always have the upper hand until we have won in Australia."

Broad anticipates a tricky series against Pakistan, especially after seeing their bowlers harness English conditions so effectively against Australia, yet it is clear that the Ashes will be the reference point for anything that might be achieved over the next four Tests.

Broad's preparations have involved almost as much time in the gym as on the field. He missed the home Tests against Bangladesh in favour of strength and conditioning work, organised by England but with input from Maximuscle, the sports nutrition company that sponsors Broad and fellow fast bowler, Steven Finn.

"The work has paid off. I've been getting a bit more zip off the wicket and been able to bowl 12 or 15-over spells like I did against Warwickshire last week, which was only my second red ball game since January."

Broad took a career-best 8 for 52 (left) for Notts in that game but, more importantly, proved himself ready for the rigours of a Test match after 16 consecutive one-day internationals. "I was stiff after bowling 20 overs on the first day but after the second innings I didn't pull up stiff at all. It is just getting the body used to it and as a result I feel fresh and ready."

Looking ahead again, he accepts the supposition that the current Australians may be less formidable than past versions, but with the proviso that no Australian side should be underestimated.

"Any team that loses Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Gilchrist in the space of two years is not going to be as strong as when these boys were in their pomp. But they still have world-class players.

"Even so, I feel this England team has an opportunity to create a legacy for the future in the same way as my father's team."

Stuart Broad uses Maximuscle, Europe's leading sports nutrition brand to maximise his sporting performance. See

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London