Stuart Broad celebrates after taking a wicket during their match against the West Indies. File / Reuters
England’s Stuart Broad said he considered retiring after being omitted for last month’s series opener against West Indies at Southampton.
England’s decision to go with James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood for the first match, which West Indies won by four wickets, snapped the 34-year-old Broad’s run of 51 consecutive home tests.
The right-arm quick returned to claim 16 wickets in the next two tests as England won back-to-back matches to triumph 2-1, with Broad picked as the player of the series.
“Were there thoughts of retirement going round my head? One hundred per cent. Because I was so down,” Broad told the Mail on Sunday.
“I can’t think of many times I have been down like that. When I have been dropped before, I can go ‘Fair enough, good decision, can’t really argue with that.’
“This time, when Stokesy told me I wasn’t playing, I felt my body go into shakes. I could barely speak,” he said, referring to acting captain Ben Stokes.
Playing the series in a bio-secure bubble, to prevent the COVID-19 spread, made dealing with the disappointment a lot more difficult, he said.
“When you are in the bio-secure bubble and you are in a room in a hotel that is on the cricket ground, you wake up and the cricket ground is there and you are surrounded by cricketers the whole time and everything is crickety, then cricket is life.”
Broad, with 501 wickets, is second only to new ball colleague James Anderson (589) in the list of most Test wickets by an English bowler.
“Could I get 600? Absolutely I think I could. Jimmy was 35 and one month when he got 500. I was 34 and one month,” he said.
“Jimmy is now within touching distance of 600. So stats wise, absolutely.”
The tourists, already 1-0 up in this three-match series, were 227-4 at tea on the fourth day, needing just 43 more runs to make England bat again in Manchester.
Ollie Pope’s superb 91 not out helped England recover on the first day of the deciding third Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Friday.
Having already put England in charge of the Test after a patient 176 in the first innings, Stokes transitioned to limited-overs mode to smash an unbeaten 78 off 57 balls early on day five, allowing England to declare on 129-3 and set an unlikely victory target of 312.
The 22-year-old paceman suffered a knee injury on the recent tour of Sri Lanka, a worrying setback with the Asia Cup — and a meeting with old rivals India — coming up at the end of the month.
British newspapers spoke of humiliation and extermination; Where the newspaper "Daily Star" titled: "Men against boys," and quoted the words of the former star of the team, Gary Neville: "This was extermination," after they conceded 4 goals in 35 minutes.
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