• England 5 min read

    Vaughan hails Broad's strength of character

    Former England skipper says Stuart Broad is a pest with precisely the character he liked in a cricketer.

    The man who handed Stuart Broad his first Test cap believes a successful Ashes tour is the last remaining frontier in the paceman’s career.

    Michael Vaughan also described the 31-year-old as a “pest” with precisely the mentality required if England are to triumph as they contest the Ashes in Australia this winter.

    Broad moved above Ian Botham over the summer to become England’s second highest wicket taker of all time, behind only new ball partner Jimmy Anderson.

    Vaughan thinks the Nottinghamshire man will have extra motivation heading into his third Ashes series Down Under following the 5-0 humbling in 2013/14 and having to leave the tour early through injury during the successful 2010/11 campaign.

    “He’ll want to go Down Under and be part of a successful England tour because he hasn’t finished one yet,” Vaughan told 

    “If he can do that I think all his boxes are ticked in terms of Test cricket, then he can sit back with a nice glass of red and think 'mission accomplished'.”

    “We look back so much in this country to the great players of the 1970s and 1980s, and that’s right, but I don’t think we talk enough about how great the England team has been at times in the last 15 years or so.

    “There’s been some wonderful characters to play the game, some wonderful moments and Broad and Anderson for many, many years will be talked about as one of the great bowling partnerships.”

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    Vaughan, who plundered 5,719 runs at 41 for England during his nine-year Test career, said Broad had been on his radar for some time before he was called into the Test side.

    Then at Leicestershire, the blond-haired beanpole was making a name for himself on the county circuit, and had already been drafted into England’s limited overs set up.

    “The talk was we had a player who really thought about his game,” Vaughan explained. “He knew and understood what he was trying to achieve. He liked to set his own field.

    “A lot of old England bowlers might have been happy for the captain to set the field all the time whereas Stuart just wanted to take full control. That’s the style of bowler I liked, that he said ‘This is how I’m going to bowl and this is the field I want’. I used to say ‘Go for it.’”

    Not many seam bowlers would choose to make their Test bow in Sri Lanka, but Broad gave it everything he had back in 2007.

    “His debut was on a road in Colombo and we had about three days in the field!” Vaughan recalled. “But he ran in, and you always look at that; do young bowlers keep giving it everything? He never went missing or shied away from trying something.

    “The big moment for me was in New Zealand when I had to drop Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison. The time had come for Broad and Anderson to take over the mantle. I was very loyal to those guys but I always knew Anderson and Broad were going to take over pretty soon. Stuart didn’t look back from that point.”

    As Broad’s reputation as a Test bowler grew, so did the character that underpinned it.

    The Australian furore that greeted his decision not to walk at Trent Bridge during the 2013 Ashes series meant he was enemy number one when England arrived in Australia later that year.

    Despite the overt criticism and pantomime vitriol - one newspaper even refusing to print his name or his picture for the entirety of the tour - Broad bore the brunt with humility and good humour.

    Though England were whitewashed, he was the leading wicket-taker with 21, underlining Vaughan’s belief that he responds well when he’s under the pump.

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    “He’s a better player when he’s being questioned about his bowling or his position - he’s got that stubborn mentality where he thinks he’s never wrong," he said. "Beefy had it, and I think there’s something in that - they’re almost trying to prove everyone wrong all the time.

    “If you look at the way he plays the game, he’s a pest. Even now, having got 388 wickets he still doesn’t appeal to the umpire all the time, he just runs down the wicket!

    “He’s like your annoying little brother at times, but he's got the mentality that I want in my team. If you asked me what sort of character I’d want in the XI I was picking I’d say Stuart Broad all day long.”

    Broad was to get his revenge on Australia during the 2015 Ashes series, when his astonishing spell of 8/15 saw the Aussies humbled for just 60 on his home ground at Trent Bridge.

    It was yet another example of Broad’s ability to conjure an unstoppable streak at big moments in matches, and the second time he’d decimated Australia after an Ashes-winning spell during the fifth Test at the Oval in 2009.

    “He’s that X-Factor cricketer that every team needs,” Vaughan said. “In English terms he’s the one bowler I can remember that consistently produces these spells from nowhere. Even at Edgbaston in the first Test you wouldn’t say he was at his best until that spell then all of a sudden it just clicked. And then you think to yourself ‘He’s going to get a wicket every ball here.’

    “Once he’s in that zone, when his knees are going and he’s hitting the crease hard, he goes through teams - we've seen it so often. He’s got that mentality for the big stage and that’s why I think this winter England are going to need his style of character.”

    Broad's tally now sits 12 shy of the 400-mark as his England focus turns to his sixth Ashes campaign.

    His new-ball partnership with Anderson is as healthy as it ever has been, the Lancastrian breaking the 500-Test wicket barrier during England's victory over West Indies at Lord’s - a game in which the 35-year-old recorded career best innings figures of 7/42.

    The pair now boast an eye-watering 894 Test wickets between them and England fans should savour the sight of Broad and Anderson making the ball talk while they can.

    “I don’t think either of them could have got to where they have got to with the other,” Vaughan said.

    “They’ve driven each other on, they’ve got that nice friendship and I think when you get that as a senior pair it must be wonderful to get up in the morning to play cricket and know you’ve got your pal at the other end who’ll help you out.

    “It’s the perfect scenario for England and Joe Root - he’s lucky man.”

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