STUART BROAD and Jimmy Anderson have taken an incredible 1,019 Test wickets between them and are England’s most successful bowlers of all time.
Jimmy, 36, and 33-year-old Broady are team-mates, friends and strategists.
And ahead of Thursday’s First Ashes Test, SunSport’s JOHN ETHERIDGE sat them down to chat about the Aussies, taking wickets and each other…
Do Ashes series get the juices flowing more than any other?
JIMMY: Definitely. Even as a kid growing up, it was The Ashes you wanted to listen to or watch on TV. It’s no different as a player.
BROADY: This Ashes more than ever. With the success of the World Cup, cricket is a talking point. This could be one of the best ever.
JIMMY: After the World Cup final, I couldn’t wait to go out and bowl the next day.
As cricketers, people say it’s our job to try to inspire the next generation but why can’t we inspire everyone — kids who want to be the next Ben Stokes or a 60-year-old who’s never picked up a bat or ball.
Cricket is a great game. The experiences in a team environment can’t be recreated in any other walk of life.
Do you not like Australians, or is it a bit of an act?
JIMMY: Watching The Edge — the film which traces England’s rise to winning The Ashes in 2010-11 and the toll of their decline — reminded me how much they try to wind us up.
It’s generally quite heated when you play Australia. They give the impression they really don’t like us.
It’s slightly different now because we’ve played with a lot of their players so we know them better than when Michael Clarke said to me ‘get ready for a broken arm’. But there are still players who try to wind us up.
BROADY: We don’t know what to expect this summer. We’ve seen ‘get ready for a broken arm,’ we’ve seen Ricky Ponting making sure their players don’t look at us.
Their bowlers weren’t allowed to speak to ours when we were measuring run-ups at the start of Tests. To create this warrior image . . . Aussies aren’t human, they’re to be scared of.
This year, they could come over with this new take-your-shoes-and-socks-off mentality like they did before the World Cup semi- final. We don’t know what’s coming.
SunSport cricket reporter John Etheridge (right) chatted with the England legends at Lord’s[/caption]
There’s a portrayal the Aussies are trying to create a new culture. So they might be extra nice and that would seem a little unnatural to play against.
But Jimmy and I aren’t the nicest two people on the cricket field. We like to be very competitive and we must make sure we don’t start talking about ‘how was your steak last night’ to the Aussies.
JIMMY: We’ve pretty much got to forget about how they’re going to behave.
We’ve been trying for a couple of years now to find some consistency in our Test cricket and we have to focus on playing our best cricket. We can’t worry about whether they’re going to sledge us.
Are David Warner and Steve Smith going to get some abuse?
JIMMY: They had a mixed reception at the World Cup. Warner reacted by scoring runs so I don’t think booing will make a difference to him, it might drive him on more.
Will you use the sandpaper business as sledging ammo?
BROADY: We wouldn’t go down the route, I don’t think.
JIMMY: That’s gone, hasn’t it? It’s in the past. We’ve got to bowl well, that’s our main focus.
BROADY: I’ve been through that booing aggression from the Aussies. It dies off. At Birmingham, there’s no doubt the crowd will boo — as we saw in the World Cup semi-final. But if they perform, there will be no one booing come the Fourth Test.
JIMMY: That time we went to Australia in 2013-14 and Darren Lehmann was encouraging the Australian supporters to get on Broady’s back verbally.
Walking down the street seeing ‘Stuart Broad is a s**t bloke’ T-shirts, I mean, it’s pretty brutal. The odd boo here or there isn’t going to worry them.
You must be proud having over 1,000 wickets between you?
BROADY: Yeah, the moment it happened, Jimmy walked into the physio’s room in Barbados. I was sat there with my bib on after he had taken another five-for and he said, ‘Well done, mate, we’ve reached 1,000 together’. Top drawer. I mixed drinks well for him that week!
Are Archer, Wood and Co keeping you on your toes?
BROADY: You always want competition and we’re going to need an armoury of fast bowlers in the next seven weeks.
There has already been a lot of intense cricket this summer, particularly for the white-ball guys.
My aim in April was to make sure that, come the end of July, I had no niggles, was fit and fresh. And now I feel ready to fire.
In Jimmy’s book, it mentions a first meeting with Stuart and thinking ‘isn’t she beautiful’ . . .
BROADY: I think that was made up just to sell some books.
JIMMY: It wasn’t made up! And that was kind compared to what you called me.
BROADY: We have a dry sense of humour, don’t we? I feel I’m relatively polite to you.
JIMMY: Most things end with ‘you old bastard,’ to be honest.
BROADY: Jimmy’s quite shy to start with so he can seem a bit grumpy before you get to know him, or if you interfere with his breakfast.
But his personality shows through over a period of time or when he’s two beers deep and at times he’s quite a funny man.
We’ve probably become a lot closer in the last five years.
The England strike duo were relaxed and confident heading into the Ashes series[/caption]
JIMMY: You were very close with Matt Prior and I was close to Swanny and Cooky but we hung out together, all of us.
Once they retired, we’ve become closer and that’s helped us on the field.
We just know each other inside out and it helps in every situation. We get as much satisfaction from each other taking a wicket as taking a wicket ourselves, which is unusual.
BROADY: You can see us celebrating each other’s success, which hasn’t always happened with fast bowling partnerships. With Darren Gough and Andy Caddick, for example.
Do you both have a few more overs in the tank?
BROADY: If you start talking about the end, you slow down, you stop finding things to work on and driving yourself forward. We’ve both always had the mindset of trying to improve each day.
Over the last two years, Jimmy is bowling as well as he can and I’ve probably worked harder in the last 18 months than in the previous seven or eight years.
JIMMY: We talk about it a lot. Like Stuart said, we’re pushing ourselves and trying to get better but there might be a day when one of us wakes up and goes ‘That’s it, I’m done’.
I don’t want to take anything away from Cooky’s last Test but I almost think he got to a point where he needed something and thought, ‘Right, this is my last Test match’. He got 70 and a hundred. It worked for him but I don’t think that would work for us.
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Are you interested in stats?
BROADY: When you’re playing, it’s always the next day that counts. But when you’re sat with a glass of red in ten years’ time, you look back and think ‘That was a good day.’
JIMMY: You’ve got to be in the moment on the field. You’ve got to be taking wickets for your team. The stats are irrelevant when your team needs a wicket.
Even if you get five-for it means nothing if you bowl a pile of s**t the next day.