Stuart Broad, whose inspirational bowling helped England regain the Ashes, is tipped to succeed England’s outgoing all-rounder Andrew Flintoff but he said it is Australian legend Glenn McGrath he is seeking to emulate.
Broad was man of the match at The Oval after England recorded a 197-run win over Australia to win the series 2-1, and it was his spell on Friday when he claimed 5-37 that changed the match and with it the destination of the Ashes.
That performance came after he scored an entertaining 61 and claimed his test best figures of 6-91 at Leeds the match before when England lost. The all-round displays have caused inevitable comment that he is the one to replace Flintoff, who played his last test at The Oval after he retired from that form of the game due to persistent injuries.
Broad, 23, modestly suggested he would be pleased if he became “half as good” a cricketer as Flintoff but he is more keen to follow the example of McGrath, Australia’s most successful pace bowler who took 560 wickets in 123 Tests.
“McGrath has always been a role model for me ever since I was a really young lad,” Broad told reporters.
“What did do? He just banged out a length at the top of off stump and ran it back into off stump and his record speaks for itself. If I could be half as good as Glenn McGrath that would be fantastic.”
Broad certainly demonstrated McGrath-like resilience in rebounding from the first three Ashes Tests when he claimed only 6 wickets at an average of 57. In the next two games he snared a further 12 to finish as England’s top wicket-taker.
Broad is settling on a similar pace around the 86 miles per hour range as McGrath frequently bowled yet he knows he has a long way to go to match the Australia.
His next more short-term challenge in test cricket, though, is beginning to occupy his mind already and he is excited at the prospect of touring the new world champion South Africa at the end of the year. He said he will “thrive” on the fact he may now be a target for opponents.
“It is pleasing when people recognize your performances and if they see me as a danger I take that as a great honour,” Broad said. “It is up to me to make sure I am a danger to them.
“That is where I can improve myself as a cricketer - being more consistent in my performances and I have got a good chance over the next couple of months to keep developing and keep winning more games for England.
“Hopefully, by the time the South Africa series comes around I will be a serious danger. The one aim of mine as a cricketer is to keep improving.”