Lots of talk about Stuart Broad recently, after the roughing he gave poor Ramnaresh Sarwan. I’m not sure, however, he’s the finished product some say he is; I suspect most of the praise comes from people who refuse to believe a person as cherubic and youthful as Broad can actually bowl fast and menacingly.
But this is game that involves two teams, and Broad has to be put into context — that is, the Ashes season. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Broad with Mitchell Johnson since they’re different types of bowlers (Johnson more swing and sheer pace; Broad more accurate and needling), but they will likely share the new ball this summer for their respective teams. They’re also at roughly similar places in their careers — Broad’s played 17 Tests; Johnson 21.
And what does a quick look at the stats tell us? Both can bat, with averages over 30. But Johnson can bowl much, much better: his bowling average is in the high 20s; Broad’s is in the high 30s. Johnson has taken nearly twice as many wickets as Broad has and, most crucially, Johnson is a strike bowler. He has 8 four-wicket hauls, Broad has none.
At this point, there’s little England can do. Anderson, Broad, Flintoff and Onions/Bresnan will have to carry the weight. But the other side’s packing some heat. (Or am I being unfair to beautiful Broad?)