The Ideal Ending: Stuart Broad's Retirement Leaves Us Wanting More

Broad will bowl his final ball today...
13:01, 31 Jul 2023

As Stuart Broad bowls his final overs at the close of an epic Ashes series, he leaves the public wanting more. As England look to a future without him, there will no doubt be cries for him to return, but there’s something special about going out at the very top. As the seam bowler has reiterated this weekend, he wanted to go out while he was still in love with the sport, and the Ashes has always been the pinnacle. 

"I'm loving cricket as much as I ever have," Broad said. "It's been such a wonderful series to be a part of and I've always wanted to finish it at the top. This series feels like one of the most enjoyable and entertaining I've been a part of."

England may not have been able to win back the Ashes in Broad’s final farewell, but his exit comes at the right time, for him at least. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum will have to deal with the headache his absence will bring over the next year or so, but they seem to be able to call on 41-year-old Jimmy Anderson for a little longer at least. 


Anderson hasn’t been at his flying best this summer, but he refused to walk through the guard of honour the Australians had put on for the departing Broad, even resisting some jokey encouragement from Mitch Marsh. His mantra on retirement appears to be to go as long as his body will allow. For many, 40 would mark the end of Anderson’s England career but instead his gametime has been managed and he is still an extremely useful option for Stokes to rely upon. 

The contrast between him and Broad is intriguing, but both of their views on retirement should be celebrated. They are undoubtedly the two greatest bowlers England have ever produced, and their wicket-taking records are testament to that, but often their longevity and friendship has seen them lumped together at all times. Broad and Anderson were meant to retire together, but now we’ve seen the younger man call it a day before Anderson, four years his senior.


What their incredible friendship has done has sometimes overshadowed their individual talents. In Broad’s case, he has been the backbone of England’s attack for the past 16 years and he’s shown huge resilience to recover from being hit for six sixes by India's Yuvraj Singh at the 2007 World Cup. We don’t want him to go, but that’s arguably the best way to be remembered. Anderson’s longevity is unlikely to be matched and deserves huge praise, but to go out at the pinnacle of the sport is undoubtedly something Broad has thought long and hard about. 

By doing so he joins some of the great sports stars in history who left us wanting more. Joe Calzaghe, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters we have ever seen, retired undefeated in 2009. He could have fought on, and probably won a handful more fights, but he went out after beating Roy Jones Jr. Bjorn Borg retired at 26 having won Wimbledon five times, while Eric Cantona called it a day at 30. 

All three examples, among many across history, have had their reputations enhanced by walking out at the top. Broad joins them with nothing left to prove, and having welcomed his first child in November last year, his priorities have changed. He’s now a father, and can leave cricket behind knowing he has given everything for his country. Broad goes down as arguably the greatest we’ve ever seen in an England shirt... well, it’s either him or his old mate Anderson. Now he leaves us wanting more, which is the perfect ending to his phenomenal career. 

*18+ | Be Gamble Aware

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.