Friday, 17 May 2013


I wrote a 3000-word summation of where Stuart Broad had got to in his career. Details of how to pick it up and/or get a subscription here. Here's the opening couple of paragraphs as a taster:

"They say a batsman’s peak, his gluttonous, run-harvesting zenith, is between twenty-eight and thirty-two years of age, the reflexes still sharp, the mind mature yet nimble and unflustered. For a spinner, it may be even older – one thinks of ‘Flat’ Jack Simmons, FJ Titmus, AJ Traicos, and many others who played past, or almost up to, 50 years of age – but the game’s most demanding profession, pace bowling, inevitably brings that period of optimum performance forward, perhaps by two years or so, depending, of course, on how much wear and tear the bowler’s frame has had to endure and how well equipped he is to endure it. As Stuart Broad limps toward his twenty-seventh birthday, the time is nigh for him to start delivering the consistent performances that have so far eluded him in a career of peaks that are all too brief and troughs that are becoming more prolonged. Of course, such judgements are made using the most stringent criteria and it would be hard to claim that, having notched up 52 Tests at the age of 26, Stuart Broad was frittering away his ability. Yet it will be the next four years that determines whether his name is mentioned when the first rank of great English pacemen is discussed. And not only, or primarily, is it a question of safeguarding a reputation for posterity, but also one of shoring up a diminishing reputation in the present, ensuring that he is a definite selection come the summer and the start of back-to-back Ashes series that may define his career."