Broad recalls the moment he and Anderson were dropped in 2022

‘It was like being tasered. I was stunned, furious’: In his new book, STUART BROAD recalls the shattering moment he learnt he’d been dropped – along with Jimmy Anderson – for the 2022 tour of the West Indies

  • Stuart Broad received the news while playing a round of golf at Sunningdale 
  • The bowler had been discussing what went wrong on the 2021-22 Ashes tour 
  • READ: Few have thrived in the heat of Ashes battle like Broad – exclusive extract 

Stuart Broad had been discussing what went wrong in the 2021-22 Ashes with Zak Crawley, Rob Key and former tennis player Tim Henman during a round of golf at Sunningdale when his career suffered a seismic jolt.

Cue dramatic irony. Within seconds of getting into my car to drive home, I had a WhatsApp call from Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s interim managing director following Ashley Giles’s sacking days earlier.

It was a terrible signal, which led to a brief, broken conversation, beginning with him informing me that unfortunately I would not be going to the Caribbean.

‘Oh, interesting,’ I said.

Of course, it wasn’t interesting. It was infuriating. Nobody takes being dropped lightly.

Both Stuart Broad (left) and Jimmy Anderson (right) were dropped for England’s tour of the West Indies in 2022

It was one of Andrew Strauss’ first big calls on being named interim ECB managing director

‘We’re going to go with a younger bowling attack,’ he told me.

What was I to say? I was a novice in such situations. I’d had plenty of pre-match, hotel-door knocks to inform me I had not made the XI, but a tour squad? ‘I’m assuming with that comment Jimmy is not going, either?’

Strauss confirmed I was right. I put the phone down, with a compulsion to tell someone immediately. Perhaps it was a state of shock. I couldn’t keep it to myself. So I called Rob Key, who I was following on the M25.

‘Mate, you can forget that chat we’ve just had. I’m not going to the Caribbean.’

‘Yeah, I know,’ he said.

At the time, Rob was working for Sky Sports. I didn’t ask how he’d found out, but the fact he knew flicked a switch. Yes, there was intense frustration at not being picked, but it had now developed into full-blown fury. The first whispers were out and I didn’t even know about it.

When I got back to our flat in London, Mollie was out so I called Jimmy. I told him I wasn’t in the squad, he said ditto, and we discussed our surprise at some of the players who had been called up, agreeing these had been some massive calls for an interim director to make. Jimmy had received his own devastating news as he picked up daughters Lola and Ruby from school.

Although the official announcement was not until the following day, February 8, 2022, I had been prepared for the news to leak, because if Key knew, others would too, and it was soon being debated on social media.

England went with a younger bowling attack in the West Indies including Matt Fisher (left) and Saqib Mahmood (right)

Before taking on the role as ECB managing director Rob Key (pictured) was working at Sky

The fact people were saying they found it hard to comprehend only wound me up more.

Naturally, lots of calls followed between senior players and player management representatives, and one of the suggestions was that a couple of different squads had done the rounds, and that my name was included in the one captain Joe Root had asked for.

Whoever made the casting vote was inconsequential, but in the circumstances, it was very much a statement call, and a massive one to make, as I don’t believe in handing out England caps lightly. Especially in big series, and this was a big series. We had not defeated West Indies away for 18 years, and only once since 1968.

Nothing personal against someone like Matt Fisher, or any doubting his talent, but I found myself logging on to Cricinfo to find out a bit about him, poring over his stats to discover he had played only 21 first-class games.

I asked myself, ‘How is he better than me?’ My mind was a maelstrom. The more I tried to get my head around the situation, the worse it hurt. Naturally, one thought developed into another, and I didn’t solely consider the immediate consequences, but the longer-term ones.

‘Hang on, have I just received a five-minute phone call that ends my international career? Out of respect, someone ought to have driven to my house and told me in person after 16 years’ service.’

The news was like being tasered. I had been stunned, stopped in my tracks, and for the next two weeks I wanted to vent my anger and hit back. Neil Fairbrother, my manager, talked me out of putting an inflammatory response to the announcement on Instagram, and my newspaper column for the Mail on Sunday was heavily edited by the ECB — as was their prerogative as my employers.

The whole episode meant that I retained a bit of a dark spot for the ECB for a period of time, stretching deep into March.

Yet when I say the ECB, I don’t really know who I mean. I had no beef with the employees of the ECB. I still loved the England badge. People within the Test set-up were lifelong friends. So where exactly was I directing my ire? Was I still angry at Strauss? Yes, definitely.

Joe root resigned as England men’s Test captain following the tour of the West Indies

Broad admitted that he still had residual anger towards Strauss, his former team-mate with England

Broad was England’s Twenty20 captain for four years but admits it was a struggle:

Kevin Pietersen had been in the T20 set-up the whole time I was captain. So, it was illogical not to take him to the 2014 World Cup in Bangladesh. I made a strong pitch for his selection in a meeting with ECB director of cricket Paul Downton and James Whitaker, the chairman of selectors, telling them it made no sense to overlook our best player. But I was met by a brick wall.

I knew there had been a breakdown in Pietersen’s relationship with Test coach Andy Flower, but that had nothing to do with me. The first I’d heard about him getting sacked was on BBC News, and it was someone else’s fallout, not mine. The Twenty20 team had its own coach, Ashley Giles, who handled KP well, and I saw no reason why he wouldn’t be on that plane to Bangladesh. Unfortunately, others did.

If I had my time again, I would turn the captaincy down. I’d had no leadership training and I struggled. I was 24 and hadn’t captained since school. Of course, saying no to the offer of a leadership position is not the done thing, but I had to ‘manage up’ and didn’t have much influence.

I wasn’t even sure of the player I wanted to be, let alone the team I wanted to lead, and not being a selector only added to the frustration. It was like being made managing director of a business and not really being sure what the business was, or given your preferred staff.

Kevin Pietersen’s (left) relationship with Test coach Andy Flower (right) had broken down before the latter left in 2014

Broad was England’s T20 captain for four years between 2011 and 2014 winning 11 of his 27 games

Broad was only a year into his England career when Yuvraj Singh hit him for six sixes in an over in a 2007 Twenty20 World Cup match in Durban:

It was the only time in top-level cricket I bowled without marking out my run-up. There wasn’t time as South Africa had just defeated New Zealand on the same pitch and it ate into our warm-up.

Before becoming captain of the T20 side Broad was hit for six sixes in an over at the 2007 World Cup

Yuvraj Singh teed off for India with 36 runs in one over on his way to a stunning 12-ball 50

I went into the over intent on hitting my yorker. I was only 21 and if I was practising 10 yorkers, I’d probably nail three. The percentages were not in my favour.

Yuvi’s an amazing hitter anyway, but most of the balls were on a plate and what I was to reflect on later was an alarming lack of clarity in my thought.

There was no getting to my mark and thinking, right, what ball am I trying to bowl here? My mind was in a spiral. Yuvraj’s 12-ball 50 took India to 218 for four. As I walked off the field, Luke Wright put his arm around me and gave me a bit of a hug. A nervous smile hung on my lips. I was embarrassed.

Broadly Speaking by Stuart Broad is published on November 9 (Hodder & Stoughton, £25)

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