STUART BROAD: Playing my last game in an Ashes Test means I can retire at the very top of the game
It was only when I went to Ben Stokes’ hotel room at half past eight on Friday evening to tell him I was retiring from cricket that I felt completely content with my decision.
Until then, I was more than a little unsure. Such a course of action is not one too take lightly and those close to me have been reminding me that once you opt out there is no turning back.
I have been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, in truth, but when I shook hands with Ben and said ‘that’s me,’ it finally felt right.
Yes, it’s been a little but emotional but once I went to Stokesy’s room and told him I felt really happy. I feel really content with everything I have achieved in the game and ultimately the decision came down to I knew I wanted to leave the game loving cricket and my last memories being a really enjoyable changing room.
I also wanted to bow out at the very top and it is significant that I can play my last game against Australia.
Stuart Broad has announced he will be retiring from cricket after the final Ashes Test
The 37-year-old leaves the game after becoming the second seamer in history to take 600 Test wickets
He is England’s leading wicket taker in the 2023 Ashes with 20 at an average of 28
Ashes cricket has brought out the best in me, I love the energy of the battle against Australia, the crowd involvement, I am proud to have 150 Test wickets against them and ultimately these are the memories I will hold with me for the rest of my life.
I look around and I have played so much cricket with so many players in this team.
I love this team to bits and so even though I was at peace with telling Brendon McCullum and Stokes on Friday night, it was still difficult telling some of the rest of the lads on Saturday morning during pre-play warm ups.
I tried to tell Joe Root and I struggled to get any words out other than a repeat of the same hand shake with Ben and the ‘that’s me’ line.
International cricket has been my life for the past 17 years and I have made such string friendships and forged such competitive battles with opponents. Of course, I will miss all of that.
In contrast to me, Jimmy Anderson will carry on and it never felt right for the two of us to go together. Not that that came into my decision, but it’s good that one half of our partnership will be able to contribute to the changing room going forward.
Broad only felt truly content with his decision after discussing it with England captain Ben Stokes
He ended the third day of his final appearance batting with his long-time teammate James Anderson
Broad will also retire from county cricket after an illustrious career with Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire
On Saturday evening, Moeen Ali gave me a glove punch as we crossed on the field and further on my journey when walking out to bat, Mark Wood said ‘this is a great honour.’
That partnership lasted all of four balls! But I will cherish those moments like all the ones that went before.
The Oval is also a place I hold dear because it was here that I realised that I could actually influence matches on the international stage through my five wicket haul against Australia that helped us win the 2009 Ashes.
And it would be the best way to bow out if we could win another Test match against the Australians this week and finish with a 2-2 draw.
When I was a kid growing up, I loved the passion and drive of my heroes like Stuart Pearce and Martin Johnson and I never wanted anyone ever thinking I was not putting absolutely everything in.
I have given my heart and soul every time I have put on the shirt for England, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire and in that knowledge I will walk away satisfied with all that I have achieved, and I will do so for whatever remains of this match.
People will ask why now? Simply, the time just felt right. They say when it comes to retirement when you know, you know.
Broad will bow out in an Ashes Test at the Oval, a fitting end after bursting on to the scene with an urn-clinching five wicket haul at the ground in 2009
Ben didn’t try to change my mind, either. He really understood the decision. I hadn’t mentioned it to him beforehand because I wanted to make sure I was clear in my mind and I wasn’t really going in for a negotiation.
And so Sunday or Monday will be my last day of cricket. It has been a wonderful ride – a huge privilege to wear the Nottinghamshire and England badge as much as I have, and also to finish at the top, content that I am still able to produce top-level performances.
I am also thankful for the wonderful nature of this series for the joy and entertainment it has provided. It has contributed to me being deeply in love with the game as I say goodbye.
England v Australia has always been the pinnacle for me – and I wanted my last bat and bowl to be in Ashes cricket.