sport news 'It was like being tasered. I was stunned, furious': In his new book, STUART ... trends now
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