A lot of the cricket fraternity were caught by surprise when Stuart Broad announced after day three of the final Ashes Test, that he would be bringing his illustrious career to an end.
The seamer has still been performing at a consistent level during the current series against Australia, but Broad admitted that he wants to go out at the top and now is the right time to call it a day.
It does now leave big decisions for the England selectors, as they look to find a bowling replacement in the five-day format.
|What||Cricket World Cup 2023|
|When||Thursday, 5th October to Sunday, 19th November|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Cricket|
|Odds||Outright – India 11/5, England 3/1, Australia 4/1, Pakistan 7/1|
At the time of his retirement announcement, Broad is currently fifth in the all-time list of Test wicket-takers, with 602 scalps in 167 matches.
He’s the second-highest seam bowler on the list, behind his England team-mate James Anderson, ahead of the likes of Glenn McGrath, Courtney Walsh and Dale Steyn.
Broad made his Test debut back in December 2007, when England faced Sri Lanka in Colombo. There was no sign of what was to come in that match though, as he returned figures of 1-95 from 36 overs as the hosts racked up 548-9 declared in their only innings.
The former Leicestershire man collected his first five-wicket haul in February 2009, when taking 5-85 against West Indies in Kingston. That was one of eight Test five-wicket hauls, with the last coming against South Africa in August 2022.
Broad’s best bowling performance undoubtedly came against Australia in the 2015 Ashes series, when he took 8-15 at Trent Bridge, ripping through the tourists’ batting line up.
Even in the current series, the 37-year-old has taken 20 wickets – the most of any England bowler – and has played in all five Tests.
In his early days, Broad also supplied plenty of quality moments with the bat, which included a big innings of 169 against Pakistan at Lord's in 2010.
Getting hit in the head, though, lessened his effectiveness with the bat, although he has still struck 13 half-centuries for England, often in swashbuckling style, while he smashed the last ball he will ever face for six.
The current bowling attack is the oldest England have used in an Ashes series, with Anderson turning 41 on Sunday, while Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are both over the age of 32.
England had hoped that Jofra Archer would have been established at Test level by now, but injuries have hampered the paceman’s progress in the last two years and he has played just 13 Test matches.
There has been some better news on that front though, after all of his recent elbow issues, with Sussex coach Paul Farbrace saying Archer is on course to play at the World Cup – where England are 3/1 to retain their 50-over title.
Another recent regular in the Test bowling attack is Ollie Robinson, but with the Sussex ace now 29 there are likely to be a couple of younger players entering the fray soon.
One option looks to be Josh Tongue, with the Worcestershire fast-medium given his Test debut against Ireland earlier this summer. Tongue was then selected for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, where he took 5-151.
Other options include Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher – who will play for the Southern Brave (11/2) in The Hundred – Durham paceman Matthew Potts and Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood.
England don’t play another Test series now until January, when they travel to the sub-continent for a five-match series against India.