England cricket: Thank you Stuart Broad as nail-biting Ashes 2023 series concludes with perfection

Stuart Broad ends his 15-year career with 604 Test wickets and a legacy that will live forever

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A six to finish his batting career and a wicket to end both the Ashes 2023 series and a Test vocation that has lasted 15 years. Stuart Broad’s time at the wicket comes to a close and England say goodbye to one of their very best.

The retirement of Stuart Broad does, however, not just mark the end of one man’s career. But it marks the closing of one of England cricket’s biggest chapters and comes at a time where England and Australia have arguably played one of the most exciting ever Test series.

Brendon McCullum’s side won the final Test match to draw the series by 49 runs which was the biggest margin of triumph throughout the five Test matches. After the five battles, all that ultimately separated the two sides were 20 runs and eight wickets. Australia scored a total of 3,059 runs to England’s 3,079 while the visitors took 85 wickets to England’s 93 - can a series really get any tighter and tougher than that?

And if that were not enough, then why not throw in a run-out controversy, a catching debacle and ball selection uproar just to spice up the already unbearable, yet unbeatable, tension.

Stuart Broad celebrates his 604th and final Test wicket in Ashes 2023Stuart Broad celebrates his 604th and final Test wicket in Ashes 2023
Stuart Broad celebrates his 604th and final Test wicket in Ashes 2023

This Ashes series really did have everything, including a heart-breaking farewell.

There is now just one man left in the squad who was part of England’s rise to the number one Test spot and he has just had to say goodbye to his long-term bowling partner. James Anderson, 41, is now the only player from that 2011 team to remain standing but if he is to play another Test match for England, he must do so without his best mate and bowling partner of 15 years.

At 37 years-of-age, the Nottinghamshire cricketer has bowled his last ever ball in international Test cricket and will leave the field with 604 Test wickets to his name. Only one other fast bowler in history has reached the 600 mark (any guesses who…?) but no other player has taken as many wickets against Australia. Out of his 604, 150 wickets were taken against the fierce opposition and 17 of these were one man - Stuart Broad’s ultimate bunny, David Warner.

Few will forget anytime soon the magical seven times Broad took Warner’s wicket in 2019 and it only took nine runs and 27 balls for the Englishman to once again take it in 2023.

To say he has been a monumental and crucial element of England’s cricket team would be the understatement of the year, for it is not just his wickets he has brought to the squad, but an infallible attitude to continue improving and developing, an invaluable bank of experience and a longevity that has only been beaten by one other Englishman.

Saying goodbye to Broad means not just closing the door on his successes, but it means parting ways with a duo we have been so used to seeing since 2007 and one that has brought us nearly 1,300 Test wickets from a combined 357 Test caps.

The pair of Anderson and Broad also hold the record for taking the most wickets when bowling together, beating a record in February which had previously been held by Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

Stuart Broad (R) and James Anderson have taken nearly 1,300 wickets between themStuart Broad (R) and James Anderson have taken nearly 1,300 wickets between them
Stuart Broad (R) and James Anderson have taken nearly 1,300 wickets between them

It somehow doesn’t feel right that we could soon see one opening the bowling without the other but such is the game and England will forever be grateful for the aeroplane celebrations and headbands Broad brought to the field.

Speaking on his friend’s decision, Broad’s partner-in-crime (if you will) said: “Neither of us could have achieved what we have without the other. It’s incredibly special and I will definitely miss him.

“Sunday morning was really special - getting to walk out with him on the field, watch him hit his last ball in Test cricket for six. The ovation he got was incredible and I felt really lucky to be out there and experience it.”

So, what else is there to say about such a hero? Well one his predecessors summed it up rather perfectly so in the words of Sir Ian Botham, “Stuart Broad…a magnificent career… a great man and a wonderful person… you did it - it was written in the stars.”