After England bowler Stuart Broad announced he will retire from cricket after the final Test against Australia, Sky Sports pundits Nasser Hussain, Michael Atherton, Ricky Ponting and Mark Butcher hailed a ‘true great” and “ultimate Ashes warrior”…
Michael Atherton – ‘An undeniably great cricketer’
“Great is an overused word sometimes but he is an undeniably great cricketer – 167 games, 602 wickets and that defining performance of 8-15 against Australia at Trent Bridge.
“He has more Ashes wickets – 150 – than anybody else in an England shirt and he himself said the Ashes brought out the best in him, which I think is why he has decided to go here.
“I think it is good decision. The one thing every cricketer is in control of is when they go and I think he has made a good choice. What could be a better time and place to go out? He can look back with a great deal of pride at a great career.
“I think the essence of him as a cricketer is his competitiveness, his feistiness, and I think he would agree with that, but don’t underplay his skill. There is a real attention to detail there.
“He has benefited from central contracts and England’s desire to wrap him and Jimmy [Anderson] in cotton wool for Test cricket, which has extended their careers. But he has taken full advantage.”
Nasser Hussain – Broad all about winning games
“A great cricketer deserves to go out at the top. It’s not just what he deserves. I think the crowd here over the next couple of days would want to give him a send-off.
“What I know about Broad is that he won’t let that emotion get in the way of a performance. What has been his benchmark throughout his career is wanting to win games. I truly believe that.
“For Stuart it is all about putting in performances to win and to win Ashes games. When you talk to him about the spells he has bowled, they mean more to him because England went on to win games and Ashes series.
“He is also a very bright bowler. He will talk about seam positions and setting up batters. The way he thinks about getting wickets [is excellent]. He is the complete article – fitness, hunger, the competitiveness, the skill, brightness.
“He has loved bowling with Anderson and learnt from him but he has had to live in Jimmy’s shadow.
“When Jimmy has not been there and he has to be the leader of the attack, he does it. Jimmy has had a quiet Ashes series this summer and Stuart has upped his game.
“So, he has lived in Jimmy’s shadow but when he has popped out of that shadow, he has shown what a true great he is.”
Mark Butcher – Australians will miss him
“Broad has been talking about it for a little while in terms of when might be the right time. I think he has surprised himself by his performance and the fact he has played all five Ashes Tests.
“He has become a dad recently and is looking forward to that transition in his life. I do believe there is a spot for a fast bowler in the Sky commentary team, so who knows…
“He had been readying himself for this moment and the bonus is that he gets to go out at the top. Very few of us get the chance to do that. What a career, what a player.
“Australians will miss him as he provides that bit of edge, but they will also be happy he has gone as he has been a right pain in the backside for them for a very long time.
“I saw him as a youngster and he had the raw talent with the ball and the height, but there was a competitive spirit you saw from the off.”
Ricky Ponting – Broad ‘the ultimate Ashes warrior’
“I am a believer in judging players on longevity and maintaining such high standards at the absolute highest level. He has played 25 consecutive Ashes Tests at home, which is unbelievable in itself.
“We talk about Ben Stokes being the ultimate warrior but Broad is the ultimate Ashes warrior. All of his best cricket has been played in Ashes series.
“People’s names and reputations are forged in what they are able to achieve in Ashes series and he can be mightily proud of what he has achieved.
“He will be remembered for how good he was in his last series. It is about the perfect time to go.”