Broad says death of step-mother forced him to grow up fast

All-rounder improving temperament after realising there are 'more important things'

Whatever fuelled Stuart Broad's outstanding bowling in the first Test against India at Lord's, the England fast bowler would like it to be known that it was not anger. Well, not at the Press for suggesting that it was time for him to be replaced in the Test side by Tim Bresnan, anyway.

"I don't read the papers so I didn't see any of that build-up really, though I wouldn't have needed reminding that I hadn't been at my best," Broad acknowledged this week. He insists he prepared for the match as he always does, as though he was a certain starter, and that there was no sense of relief when he got the nod.

"It was one of those things, if you get picked you get picked, and if you don't you go and get wickets elsewhere. Obviously you're always delighted when you get the call, but I never really had too many doubts to be honest.

"I have been struggling a bit this summer, had a couple of little niggles, strained my ankle ligaments before the Twenty20 at Bristol and had a bruised heel, so it has been a little bit frustrating, but as a fast bowler I think anyone playing at the top level will tell you that's part and parcel of it and, as I say, once I got the nod I was extremely focused on what I had to do."

A pause. "And I don't think I could have answered the critics in any higher way, really, getting 70 not out and getting seven wickets in the game, and some pretty important wickets in there."

For all that he may not read the papers, then, there isn't much doubt that the 25-year-old was fully aware of what was being said.

The most irritating criticism, judging by his reaction, was that he had taken the label of "Team Enforcer" – perhaps somewhat unfortunately placed on him by England bowling coach David Saker – a little too seriously and was consistently bowling too short.

As a consequence, the eight wickets he took in the three Tests against Sri Lanka had come at an average of not much less than 50 while he conceded close to four runs an over.

As Broad points out, however, the modern international fast bowler doesn't – or shouldn't – look to rough up the opposition for the sake of it.

"When you bowl short you're always bowling to a team's plan, whether it's Sachin Tendulkar or Zaheer Khan, we spend hours in meeting rooms discussing where to bowl at these guys. So it's always a strict plan what we're doing.

"The wicket is important too, and there was a difference between this Lord's wicket and the Sri Lanka wicket. The Sri Lanka wicket was very batsman friendly, and the full ball was just getting driven for four because it was just so true and kissing on. Whereas you looked at this Lord's wicket, and I can't remember the short ball being in the game particularly – Kevin [Pietersen] gloved one, but it was really hard to bowl a decent short ball, and there was a little bit of swing.

"I think as a template that's the style of bowler I want to be, that's the length of ball I want to be aiming at, and looking back, the week before, going to play for Notts at Trent Bridge where there is value in pitching the ball up and swinging it, I think that did me a lot of good. And putting the cover fielder in to encourage the drive was useful."

Keeping a lid on his temper when umpire Billy Bowden turned down two apparently stone dead leg-before appeals, one against the great Tendulkar himself, was another indication of his determination to distance himself from the "angry fast bowler" image. But it was also, Broad believes, a sign that his still boyish face notwithstanding, he's growing up.

In that respect, the Broad Appeal, launched last year by Broad, his father Chris, the former England Test batsman, and his sister Gemma to raise money for research into Motor Neurone disease after the death of Chris's second wife Miche, has been a huge factor.

"Over the past year I've been very aware that cricket – even international cricket – isn't the most important thing in life. When I was younger everything was very easy, everything revolved around cricket.

"The thing is that realising there are much more important things in life can also help with your cricket as well. You often see people get better with age on the cricket field, and I'm sure that's one of the reasons behind it, there are times when you need to refresh yourself and get yourself in a really good frame of mind.

"Miche wanted to help with the research side of the disease and it feels as though it has been really worthwhile."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'