SJA Sportsman of the Year: The case for Stuart Broad

VOTING HAS NOW CLOSED to decide the winners of three major categories at the Awards, to be held at The Kia Oval in London on Thursday 7 December; Jake Wightman, Beth Mead and the Lionesses claimed the equivalent 2022 honours; who will take the top prizes this year?

By Will Reyner

This year, Stuart Broad rounded off an iconic 16-year cricket career which included prominent moments like his eight wickets for 15 runs against Australia at Trent Bridge, winning the ICC T20i World Cup in Barbados, taking 604 test wickets and winning three Ashes series. 

His retirement came as a huge shock to the entire cricketing world because he was still exhibiting world-class form and was a key player in the 2023 Ashes series. 

He took 22 wickets over the five-Test series at an average of 28.4, only one behind the leading wicket-taker Mitchell Starc.

He also reached an iconic milestone, becoming just the fifth bowler to take 600th Test wickets with his dismissal of Travis Head in the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Broad announced his retirement before the final day of the fifth Test at The Oval and still managed to carry England to victory in a magical final spell by taking the final two wickets that levelled the dramatic series at two a piece.

Broad said: “I’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks but England v Australia has always been the pinnacle for me.

“I’ve loved the battles I’ve had with Australia. I’ve got a love affair with Ashes cricket and I think I wanted my last bat and bowl to be in Ashes cricket.”

Throughout his club career, he played in Australia for the Hobart Hurricanes and in India for the Kings XI Punjab, but his real home in cricket was Trent Bridge. 

Broad began his career at Leicestershire but joined Nottinghamshire in 2008 which was his boyhood club, and the one his father also represented. 

He stayed with Nottinghamshire until his retirement this year and was rewarded for his incredible service and loyalty with the renaming of Trent Bridge’s iconic Pavillion End to the Stuart Broad End. 

He broke a record in his final-ever cricket match as he became the only player in test history to hit a six off his final ball whilst batting and take a wicket on his final ball whilst bowling.

That record completely sums him up as a player and a personality – blockbuster.

Whilst a lot of the deserved praise the legendary bowler has received since his retirement reflects on his career as a whole, he was still undeniably world-class for England right up until his final ball and he boasted excellent statistics in 2023.

He took 38 wickets at an average of just 26.28 in 2023 where he played against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui and Wellington, Ireland at Lords and all five Ashes Tests.

As Broad walked off the pitch for the final time, taking it all in alongside good friend Moeen Ali, supporters all around the ground stood up and emotionally applauded as the game was losing one of its true greats who had a stellar final year and retired at the top of the sport.

Sports journalist Will Reyner is a member of the SJA Academy – find out more about membership here.