Stuart Broad showcases humility upon rise to No. 1 slot

Stuart Broad became the first England cricketer to top the ICC bowling rankings since Steve Harmison in 2004. Broad has carried his terrific form from 2015 into 2016, setting up a fine win for England against South Africa at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Catch ‘em young

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The baby-faced Broad made his international debut in 2006 at the age of 19, much to the surprise of many. His gangling 6’6” frame helped him bowl fast and extract bounce. But consistency wasn’t always his forte. It came to the fore in the ICC World Twenty 20 2007 where Yuvraj Singh hammered him for six sixes in an over. Broad’s strong character is based on his using that over to become the bowler that he is today.

The enforcer

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He was thrust with the role of the enforcer in the team, bowling fast and hostile spells in order to intimidate the opposition. As a result, he would bowl a lot of short deliveries, lending variety to the attack in which James Anderson and Steve Finn stuck to a fuller length. This has changed over the years with Broad pitching it up often, giving more opportunities for lateral movement. “Stuart Broad was an easy bowler to captain,” Michael Vaughan, former England captain, wrote in his column for TheTelegraph.

Getting better with age

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Over the last five years, the son of former cricketer Chris Broad has been the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket with 231 scalps. He has formed a potent strike-force with Anderson, capable of running through most batting line-ups. Stuart Broad is known to produce breath-taking, match-turning spells which leave the opposition in tatters.

The absolutely stunning figures of eight for 15 against Australia in the 2015 Ashes at Nottingham and another one of six for 17 in the 2016 series against South Africa at Johannesburg are latest examples of his outstanding bowling. Anderson has been facing fitness issues of late and Broad seems to have relished the additional responsibility. With 330 wickets in 90 tests, he looks certain to surpass Botham’s 383 scalps and only Anderson is ahead at 429.

No mug with the bat

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Broad was an opening batsman in his early days and subsequently became a fast bowler after a growth spurt. He averages around 23 with the bat in Test cricket with ten fifties and a hundred to his credit. His stunning, back-to-the-wall 169 against Pakistan in 2010 comes to mind when talking of his batting prowess. That’s the thing with Broad, he has a knack of delivering in pressure situations either with the ball or bat.

Broad has been humble in his rise to the top of the bowling rankings. “When you consider that only Beefy in the 1980s and Harmy in 2004 have been number one as English bowlers, it is a lovely achievement,” Broad told The Guardian. “So I’m not going to walk away from this week thinking I’m a better bowler than Dale Steyn or Jimmy Anderson because that is not the case. But it is a nice feeling to have reached this mark through my performances.”

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