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Tim Wigmore on the Evolution of Stuart Broad

The Telegraph use CricViz data to explore the way the England seamer has changed.

Using CricViz data as part of a partnership between ourselves and the Daily Telegraph, journalist Tim Wigmore has charted some of the key developments in Stuart Broad’s red ball bowling game.

Wigmore writes: “Before the 2019 Ashes, Stuart Broad discussed his bowling with Peter Moores, the Nottinghamshire head coach, and Kunal Manek, the club analyst. Moores had a hunch, swiftly confirmed by Manek’s data: Broad was allowing batsmen to leave too many balls. At his best, Broad only allowed batsmen to leave about 15 per cent of deliveries with the new ball. When that number crept up, reaching 30 per cent or more, he was far less effective. The insight was simple, but actionable: identifying a slight fall in Broad’s game, and a route map to improve.”

One of the more notable elements of Broad’s evolution is the way he’s come around the wicket to left=handers, as Wigmore writes: “At the heart of Broad’s evolution has been his improvements to left-handers. For most of his career Broad has struggled against left-handers: until 2019, his average of 26.4 to right-handers swelled to 35.5 to left-handers. But since 2019, Broad has been a slayer of southpaws, averaging 19.6 against them. This late career metamorphosis has been underpinned by Broad embracing a new angle of attack: going around the wicket to left-handers. Until 2019, he only did so 42 per cent of the time; this has soared to 93 per cent since.”

Wigmore also examined the way that Broad has moved from being primarily a swing bowler, to being primarily a seam bowler: “Effectively, Broad has traded swing for seam: in England last summer, for the first time ever, he got more seam than swing. If swing is more alluring, seam is more incisive. By the time the ball seams off the pitch, the ball is in the last 150 milliseconds of its journey to the bat, rendering it too late for the batsman to change their shot. Broad finds it “easier to control” the seaming rather than swinging ball, says Jon Lewis, the England fast bowling coach.” 

“This was never the best use of Broad. Happily, he has moved further away from this categorisation than ever before: where he bowled a bouncer every five balls from 2007-11 in Tests, he is only bowling a bouncer every 11 balls since the start of 2019. Yet if this evolution indicates that he is using the bouncer less, he is also using it more effectively.” 

You can read the full piece, and more CricViz content, here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2021/06/01/stuart-broad-inside-brain-crickets-cleverest-bowler/.

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