Hadlee email primes Broad for Ashes
England quick working on modified run-up and action as he targets final home Ashes in 2019
13 January 2019, 12:38 PM AEST
England veteran Stuart Broad has drawn inspiration from an email from Sir Richard Hadlee as he targets the 2019 Ashes.
Broad, who had forecast this year's clash with the Aussies as his final home Ashes series, will be trialling a new run-up and action in the upcoming Test series in the Caribbean, with the shift coming about as a result of contact with New Zealand legend Hadlee, as well as the evolution of Broad's England teammate, James Anderson.
The 32-year-old has played 124 Tests and recently overtook Hadlee's mark of 431 wickets to move into equal eighth on the all-time list (level with Rangana Herath on 433), but felt he could improve himself even in the latter stages of his career, as Anderson has done in recent years.
"The idea came to me when I was at the Oval late last summer watching Jimmy Anderson bowl," Broad wrote in the UK's Daily Mail. "He's got quite a short, rhythmical run-up, I was at mid-on and I just thought: he looks like a Rolls Royce here.
"It made me think that I should try something similar.
"Shortening my run up, making myself more compact at the crease and heightening my release position will hopefully (improve me) again because I've got aims to play at the top level for the foreseeable future.
"In the shorter term everything I am doing is geared towards those matches against Australia starting in August.
"I have had the same action since the age of 17 but I am very keen to make it more economical and if it isn't working or is not effective over the next five weeks in the Caribbean, I can always go back to my old one. I will be able to cruise back with no trouble at all."
Broad began studying YouTube videos of Hadlee in the closing stages of his decorated career, and specifically, his performance against England in Birmingham in 1990, when the New Zealander took eight wickets in a losing cause.
"During the process I got in contact with Sir Richard, who played with my father, Chris, at Nottinghamshire and he sent me a detailed, two-page email in reply about why he changed and what he did," Broad wrote.
"It was awesome. That in particular was what inspired me to go for it.
"He reckons it gave him an extra six years on his career, that he became meticulously accurate, had such control at the crease that he wouldn't bowl a bad ball and that it gave him more bounce.
"These are all the same reasons that I want to make a change. If it's good enough for one of the best bowlers in history, why not me?"
Broad has been a thorn in the side of the Australians for the past three Ashes series on his home patch, capturing 60 wickets in 15 Tests at 26.01, with England winning all three.
In the 2015 series, won by England 3-2, he claimed 21 wickets at 20.90, including a barely believable 8-15 on day one of the fourth Test at Trent Bridge – a performance that effectively regained the Ashes for the hosts.