The Roar
The Roar


You can admit it now - if Stuart Broad was an Aussie, he'd be your favourite player

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31st July, 2023
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It’s been said many times that Stuart Broad is the most Australian of English cricketers. 

His tenacity, his will to win and, yes, his tendency to play a little fast and loose with the spirit of the game would stand him in good stead with some of the best to come from this country over the years, and indeed, make him stand out from plenty of his own countrymen.

What has often been held up as a virtue of Australian cricket – as recently as the Alex Carey stumping in this very series – has similarly been seen as a failure of English cricket, a deficiency in the key areas of ‘wanting it’ and other woolly concepts.

Broad might not have threatened to break anyone’s arm, to get them at the Gabba or indeed, smuggling something from Bunnings down his trousers, but he’s never shied away from being the hate figure for the opposition, or indeed, from smashing the ball to first slip and staying exactly where he was.

There’s always been a competitive edge to him that few of his countrymen – for the record, I am one of them – have shared. It’s what will, over time, end up endearing Broad to Australians over the long run.

History will be kind to him. For the thick end of 15 years, he has dominated the narrative of Ashes contests, whether positively, in producing the devastating spells with the ball that have decided two series, or negatively, by being public enemy number one on most of his visits to Australia.

In terms of English bowlers, he not only has more Ashes wickets than any other player, but also as many moments as any in reasonable living memory.


There’s no ‘Broad’s Ashes’, like there might be with Ian Botham or Andrew Flintoff – or even Ben Stokes – but in terms of bowling longevity, his defining spells across multiple series will be what he is most known for.

James Anderson will always have him as a pure bowler, but he hasn’t run through teams like Broad has, and indeed, hasn’t run through Australia specifically as his younger teammate has. 

He’s had an 11-wicket game, a nine, an eight. He’s taken eight five-fers against Australia, more than anyone else, and five of them were six-fers. Remember, you hate him because he’s good.

In many ways, the best character to compare Broad to is Shane Warne. 

On the field, obviously, Warne still has it and Broad is in that tier just down from the true all-timers, and off the field, too, he’s not quite as colourful a character – though, in fairness, who is? 

But in terms of an ability to create moments, to transcend the game, to be the story of a whole series all on their own, then Broady is as close as any, certainly since Botham’s heyday in the early 1980s and perhaps longer. 

Stuart Broad. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)


Speaking as a true Warne hater – he was, above all, a scourge of English cricket fans everywhere – there was always a feeling that you couldn’t actually hate the man, because he was that good and also the kind of bloke you know you’d probably get on with.

It was love to hate all the way, as evidenced by the huge outpouring of affection on the spin king’s untimely passing last year.

There’s been plenty of Australians who were hate-to-hate – Justin Langer and David Warner are two that immediately spring to mind – and it might be that Broad inhabits that space for many Aussie fans.

But in a character-off against other occupants of that space, such as Kevin Pietersen, it’s clear that there’s whole other level of depth to Broad’s character that elevates him beyond pure hate figure.

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Remember, the bulk of England fans started off by hating him too. For a long time, Broad was an expensive bowler who got picked for his lower-order batting, which did little to immediately endear him to anyone.

Throw in that he was the son of a former player – the term ‘nepo baby’ hadn’t been coined in 2007, but the feeling existed – who looked like an overgrown private schoolboy.

For fans used to the likes of Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard, not to mention Anderson, he seemed like a dilettante who wouldn’t last.


When he was dropped in 2008, however, Broad went away and took seven in county cricket, perhaps the first inkling that there might be a little more backbone than expected.

This became a theme. At times he was most doubted, Broad produced his best. It is, again, the most Australian of qualities for a cricketer to have.

David Warner of Australia reacts after being dismissed by Stuart Broad of England during Day 2 of the LV= Insurance Ashes 1st Test match between England and Australia at Edgbaston on June 17, 2023 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

His willingness, for want of a better phrase, to make the game all about himself, is what has driven him all along.

You can look forward to this, by the way. He’s coming to a media box near you and will be around for the foreseeable. His partner, Mollie King, is a pop star-turned-broadcaster in the UK, and the pathway from the field to the commentary box has been laid for years.

He’ll be top of the list of new recruits for broadcasters in the next Ashes, if not before. He’ll end up in the celebrity jungle, if he wants to, though his partner did the English equivalent of Dancing with the Stars, so perhaps that might be more his vibe.

Vibes is the correct word. He was a vibes cricketer, with a propensity for the dramatic and an unerring ability to claim the moment. 


It’s why fans here hated him so much, but as the on-field fades into the rear view mirror, it’ll be clear that the love was also there.

You’ve not heard the last of him, Australia. In fact, you might enjoy the next bit – even if you don’t want to admit it.