Stuart Broad has opened up on his decision to retire from cricket and admits it “still hasn’t sunk in”.
Broad announced his retirement following the third day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Kia Oval and finished his career in style by claiming the final two wickets of the match, as England secured victory and denied Australia a first series win on these shores since 2001.
The 37-year-old seamer starred throughout the Ashes series and finished as England’s leading wicket-taker with 22.
“When I went to tell Stokesy, when I told Jimmy and Rooty, I found it quite hard to find the words to say. I’ve seen a couple of clips from the crowd reaction of a couple of wickets at The Oval on Monday and that made me feel a little bit emotional,” Broad told Sky Sports at The Hundred.
“Ultimately, I just feel really proud of being able to play for England for as long as I have and experience as much as I have. It probably hasn’t sunk in that I won’t bowl another ball or hit another ball. I think that will probably come in a bit of time. But I knew deep down that I wanted to try and finish at the top and Ashes cricket feels like the top for me. It was a pretty cool way to finish.”
He added: “Probably probably a week or so I was thinking about retirement. I was so focused on on the Ashes series. The games were coming so thick and fast. I didn’t really have time to think of anything else.
“I had to be fully dedicated to the task at hand and probably towards the end of Old Trafford I started to think ‘the last test is next week, where should I go?’ I just couldn’t think clearly enough.
“I was quite emotionally tired anyway from what had been a really busy summer so far. But I FaceTimed Mollie [his partner] on the Friday night and she just said ‘you have got to follow your heart. Just go with whatever you are thinking and I’ll support you either way’. I put the FaceTime down and just went to Stokes’ room, shook his hand and said ‘that’s me. It’s been an absolute pleasure to play with you as a team-mate and a friend. You’ve been a dream captain, so thank you’.”
Broad: Stokes told me before Murphy wicket it would be my last over
It was a fairytale finish for Broad as he first dismissed Todd Murphy before getting Alex Carey to nick off to Jonny Bairstow for the 604th and final Test wicket of his sensational career.
He revealed captain Ben Stokes told him before the Murphy wicket that it was his meant to be his last over, hence the surprise on his face when taking the Australian out.
“I felt really relaxed that last day and just for [Chris] Woakes and Moeen [Ali] to set the tone as they did and get some early wickets was awesome. I played so much cricket with both those guys and it was so special,” said Broad.
“The Oval was really loud on Monday. The atmosphere was really awesome. To be out there and the little bail flick, getting a couple of wickets. I think I just made it up and I wish I found it 10 years ago because I would have a few more wickets!
“Weirdly, Stokesy told me before that over, before I got Todd Murphy out, he said ‘this will be your last over because I’m going to get Woody on with the extra pace’. So, I was running in knowing that would be my last ball in professional cricket. My legs went a bit jelly-like when I was running in.
“I was saying to myself ‘just hit the pitch as hard as you can, try and get the ball to move away. But whack the pitch, don’t bowl a floaty half volley for your last ball in international cricket and he nicked it. That’s why I reacted like ‘Oh my, he’s nicked it, he’s nicked it’
“It just felt really special to finish on a win and be in the change room with all the guys that I have played so much cricket with.”
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