London, Sep 18 (IANS) England pace bowler Stuart Broad was devastated following his exclusion from the squad for the away Test series against West Indies earlier this year, but him returning to the side and becoming a part of Brendon McCullum’s all-conquering side has made things “memorable” for the 36-year-old stalwart.
Broad and pace-bowling partner James Anderson, two of the most experienced bowlers in Test history, were dropped from the touring party to the Caribbean under then skipper Joe Root, following the morale-shattering 0-4 loss in the Ashes Down Under. The side still lost the series 0-1, leading the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to make extensive changes in the Test structure.
The ECB brought in coach Brendon McCullum from New Zealand and all-rounder Ben Stokes was handed over the reins of the Test side after Root stepped down. Both Broad and Anderson were back in favour, and since then the duo has worked wonders, guiding the side to six victories in seven Tests under the new skipper.
Broad said those six wins had given him back his self-belief.
“What has made it (return to Test side) so memorable — yes, six wins out of seven is incredible, yes credit must go Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes for the creation of a different style of cricket — is being part of a team in which every single player can look back and say: ‘I’ve contributed at some stage to a Test match win,'” Broad said in his column for Daily Mail.
“I was pretty devastated after being left out of the tour of West Indies and I think what that made me do was allow me to value everything that subsequently came my way. Every day now Brendon McCullum greets me with ‘Morning, Hawk’… It’s fair to say I’ve lightened up a bit and I’m having more fun thanks to the aura he and Stokes have brought to the team,” added Broad.
Board recently become the second-most successful pacer in cricket history after going past former Australian quick Glenn McGrath’s figures during the third Test against South Africa at The Oval. The veteran pace bowler said the win at The Oval, which helped England clinch the Test series against South Africa 2-1, has a “strong place” in the hearts of the players.
“The Oval holds a strong place in a lot of players’ hearts because you end home summers there, and – if you are lucky enough — it’s the place you celebrate Test series wins. And the one over South Africa was special for lots of reasons.
“It capped what has felt like the most incredible summer for me because without trampling over old ground, I was as close as I’ve ever been to never experiencing that winning feeling again on international cricket field with the way I felt back in March (when he was dropped).
“On the field, I have been part of a bowling group that just thinks about getting 10 wickets as quickly as possible, not worrying about the economy rate at all, and that actually takes some pressure off,” he added.