Stuart Broad - 24th June
Stuart’s route to the top has been classic. He first appeared in the Oakham School team just short of his 14th birthday, and was in the team more often than not for 5 seasons. As time went on he appeared for the Leicestershire Under 14s in 2000, and progressed through the county teams and finally the county second XI in 2004. The winter of 2004-05 was spent in Victoria, playing the Australian format of 2 day club cricket.
Throughout this time the excited talk at Grace Road revolved around ‘Chris Broad’s son, this tall young fast bowler who could also bat’. After a quiet debut in the then first class match against Durham, everything was set fair for his championship debut against Somerset, back at his old school in Oakham. Once again a quiet match, a wicket in each innings and half an hour at the crease where he collected 17 runs.
Remarkably, Stuart has never exceeded the 48 first class wickets he took in 2006, a season that also saw his International debut in both T20 and One day Internationals, played towards the end of the season against Pakistan. More importantly for Leicestershire fans, he played in the successful T20 campaign, which ended in a nail biting final against Nottingham, where a waist high full toss which was hit for six caused a certain amount of feeling.
He played just one match in the World Cup held in the West Indies at the start of 2007.
Gossip at Grace Road during 2007 focussed around ‘When will he move to Notts’. He played in 10 One Day Internationals against West Indies and India that year, and before the season was out his move was confirmed, and during the winter, his first ‘Test’ cap.
Since then, his amazing international career has gone from strength to strength, though always it seems, one step behind that of Jimmy Anderson. For many, his 8 for 15 against Australia at Trent Bridge is the most memorable, but on four occasions he has secured 30 or more test wickets in a season. In the games that really matter, the tests against Australia, he has taken 118 wickets third on the list below Ian Botham and Bob Willis (and 14 more than Jimmy Anderson).
In his younger days he was considered a very promising batsman. His epic 169 against Pakistan in 2010 where he put on 332 for the 8th wicket with Jonathan Trott, promised to be the first of many centuries. A nasty injury in 2014 when a ball from India’s Varun Arun hit him and gave him two black eyes clearly knocked his confidence. Before the injury he averaged 24 in 74 Test matches, in the 64 since, just 12. His innings against Pakistan remains his only century in first class cricket.
Hopefully in the not to distant future he will be adding to his tally of test wickets, and maybe even another match at the Fischer County Ground.
Richard Holdridge - Club Historian
Main image - Left Leicestershire CCC Archives, Right Getty