Looking Over James Anderson and Stuart Broad’s Journey with the new ball

James Anderson and Stuart Broad dropped and fighting for a place.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have 1137 Test Wickets combined, and have enjoyed long careers together as England’s best ever pace bowlers. They are the top-two pacers in England, and have carried the side for over a decade and a half, pairing with each other for the new ball, and creating a magnificent partnership.

While Stuart Broad made his debut in 2007, James Anderson started much earlier. He wasn’t a regular in the side though as James Anderson spent years toiling in the England Nets, as he was often erratic, and struggled with his fitness. In 2008, James Anderson and Stuart Broad started their journey together. Their journey started in a similar manner as to how it ended. They came in as England dropped the likes of Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard, after a tough period, and both bowlers struggled to comeback.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are among the leading wicket-takers for England in the ODI format

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are in a similar situation today. They started together back in 2007, and enjoyed a dream run of nearly 15 years with the new ball, and where unchallenged in England. There were not many pacers who could get the new-ball out of their hands, and both bowlers found success in Tests and ODIs.

Their ODI exploits are often ignored, but the two pacers were regular partners for a good eight years as well. Both pacers are in the top three wicket-takers for England, but were dropped after the 2015 World Cup, when England began a white-ball revamp, similar to the red-ball revamp this time around.

Together, James Anderson and Stuart Broad scaled numerous heights, winning series in Australia, winning a series in India, and being the sole bright spots for the England Cricket team in the 2013 Ashes. They were a deadly combination at home and often teams would be found out by one of them each game. They have a handful of five wicket hauls, and enjoyed a unchallenged run till 2017. In 2017, Stuart Broad’s form waned a touch after a tough Ashes in Australia, and James Anderson struggled with injuries, while his age also became a talking point.

Broad’s formed almost led him to losing the new-ball, but he just managed to cling on after decent series against India in 2018. His resurrection though, came in the 2019 Ashes, where h owned David Warner, and carried the bowling attack in Anderson’s absence. From almost losing the new-ball, Stuart Broad enjoyed a period of growth, and with James Anderson going strong the pacers were again unchallenged until the pandemic.

The pandemic saw England employ a rest and rotation system and this led to England resting Stuart Broad in the first Test against West Indies in 2020, and James Anderson in the second. They didn’t want to play both their experienced bowlers together as they were looking at workload management. The decision to avoid playing both pacers didn’t go down well as Stuart Broad expressed disappointment and this led to some leeway in the selection as James Anderson and Stuart Broad were selected together for the third Test against West Indies.

With Jofra Archer and Olly Stone injured, England were heavily relying on their pace bowling duo at the Ashes. Both pacers played in three of the Tests, and their experience came in handy. They were among England’s best bowlers and maintained and average below 27 through the series. Stuart Broad had a five-wicket haul as well, but the batting was too poor to support Anderson and Broad.

Despite being among the best pacers in the Ashes, James Anderson and Stuart Broad were a part of a period of poor handling from England. England making rash decisions is a norm. They dropped legends, David Grower and Ian Botham back in 1990, Kevin Pietersen after a decent Ashes in 2013, and now sacked their coaches along with best bowlers. At the age of 39 and 35, a come back seems tough, but with the county season approaching, James Anderson and Stuart Broad may fight one more time to make a comeback and end their careers on a high.