BROAD AIMS TO LAND THAT OLD ONE-TWO
Stuart Broad’s bond with James Anderson is so strong that even the prospect of overtaking Sir Ian Botham is framed within his new-ball partner’s previous achievement of becoming England’s record wicket-taker in Tests.
Anderson eclipsed Botham’s mark of 383 wickets in Antigua two years ago against the West Indies. He now has 487.
Broad was five away from surpassing Botham on the all-time list ahead of the three-Test series against the same opposition that started at Edgbaston yesterday.
In time, the 31-year-old may even overtake Anderson. For now, though, he is looking forward to joining his good friend at No.2 on England’s list of most prolific bowlers.
“I remember so clearly, like it was yesterday, when Jimmy overtook Beefy in Antigua,” said Broad. “Seeing how much that meant to Jimmy obviously shows how special it would be to get up to where Beefy is.
“I don’t particularly look at things like that really. I’m not someone who tends to look too much into the future because I’m a big believer that if you start looking in the future, you take your real drive and competitive spirit away from the now.”
Broad right now is enjoying bowling with Anderson, who despite turning 35 last month took 20 wickets at 14.10 in the recent series against South Africa.
The pair have taken 720 wickets between them in the Tests they’ve played together over the past decade.
So, when Anderson had an end named after him at his home ground of Old Trafford for the final Test against South Africa, Broad was the proudest man on the field other than Anderson himself.
“It’s been a special partnership to be involved in,” he said. “It was quite a surreal feeling for me at Old Trafford, standing at mid-on, with Jimmy Anderson being announced bowling from the Jimmy Anderson End.
“He’s a great friend of mine, we’ve had some great memories on the cricket field, so I think that was probably the most special moment I’ve had playing for England.
“I know how proud he was, it was awesome. I’ve been lucky to bowl at the other end to him and I know if I hadn’t done, I wouldn’t have as many wickets as I have.
“It’s been special. It would be great for us to be one and two on the Test wickets tally for England.”
Rumours emerged during that Old Trafford Test earlier this month that Anderson might be considered for a player-coach role if, as is all but confirmed, Ottis Gibson, who looks after England’s fast bowlers, is appointed South Africa’s new head coach.
Broad admits his partner is pretty much a mentor for the rest of England’s attack such is his experience. But he does not see him taking on a more formal bowling coach role for this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.
“That was suggested really sarcastically by Jimmy in the changing room,” he said. “I don’t really know how that went any further.
“It would be a tough one for him. Jimmy is almost a bit of a bowling coach round the group anyway. I think you need, assuming Ottis goes, someone to bounce ideas off, as in a coach who’s not playing in the Test when you need to do some technical work.
“We’re very lucky in that we have an experienced bowling unit who take control of the meetings and that sort of thing.
“I think you need someone to help a squad and be involved in the management meetings. It would be very hard for a Test bowler to suddenly be in a management meeting on a Tuesday afternoon when he wants to be on the golf course relaxing.
“I’d prefer Jimmy to be taking the new ball at the Gabba fully focused on that role but, as I say, he’s pretty much a coach anyway with his great experience.”
Gibson, in his second spell with England in between a spell coaching the West Indies, has had a big influence on Broad’s career and his departure, when confirmed, will be a blow.
“Ottis has been a huge influence on my career, not just as a bowler but as a person,” said Broad.
“I opened the bowling with him when I started my career at Leicestershire. He knows my action better than I know my action, to be brutally honest.
“I don’t know if he’s going to take the job, but those sorts of opportunities don’t come around too often, do they?
“I know he’s keen to do a head role again, and that’s a hugely exciting job to be talked about.
“Any coach who has ambition would want to take on a full role. So, if he gets offered it I’d be surprised if he didn’t take it. But I would be gutted to see him leave.”
When Anderson had an end named after him at Old Trafford, Broad was the proudest man on the field other than Anderson
Double act: Stuart Broad, left, and Jimmy Anderson share a joke during a nets session at Edgbaston
Still in second: Sir Ian Botham